Former officer sentenced for assaulting a member of the public while on duty
Former PC Thomas Karlsen, who was attached to the South West Command Unit, appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday, 5 September where he was sentenced to four months custodial suspended for 12 months, 20 days rehabilitation activity requirement, and an 80-hour Community Order (unpaid work). He is also required to pay £400 compensation to the victim.
On Tuesday, 27 June, Karlsen appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court and pleaded guilty to actual bodily harm.
A misconduct hearing concluded on Thursday, 3 August that had Karlsen – who resigned from the organisation in July – still been serving, he would have been dismissed without notice.
Detective Chief Superintendent Clair Kelland, in charge of South West Command Unit, said: “Former PC Karlsen’s actions that day were shocking, and completely disproportionate to the situation he faced. I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to the victim. It is clear from the body worn video that this would have been a very traumatic experience which will have had a long-lasting impact. Officers from our Directorate of Professional Standards continue to offer him every support.
“We have been explicit about the high standards we expect from officers and know that we must maintain these in order to increase the trust that our communities have in us. The powers afforded to us must be used fairly and professionally, and it is clear that this was absolutely not the case on this occasion.”
In November 2022, Karlsen attended an address in New Malden following reports by the occupants of a domestic dispute involving a relative who was staying at the property.
On arrival at the scene, Karlsen attempted to detain a man and whilst doing, so he punched and kicked him, as well as using PAVA spray at close proximity.
Karlsen arrested the man on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker and resisting arrest.
The man was transferred to hospital with swelling to the face and a split lip, and later taken into police custody. Following a review of body worn video, he was released with no further action. Karlsen was referred to the DPS.
The matter was referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, who requested a local investigation. Karlsen was interviewed under caution and charged on 22 May with ABH. He was suspended from duty.
A second male PC who was with Karlsen at the time of the incident will face a misconduct meeting in due course. He is not subject to any restrictions.