Firearms officer’s career hangs in the balance despite being CLEARED of assault over shoving boy,

Joseph Kaffel at Horsham Magistrates Court after being charged with assault by beating

A Scotland Yard firearms officer ended up in court after shoving a child during a row at a Butlin’s holiday camp.

Joseph Kafel, 35, was charged with assaulting the 12-year-old boy during an ugly half-term scuffle over splashing in the swimming pool.

The burly 6ft-tall specialist protection officer was accused of losing his temper with the boy whom he suspected of bullying his son. But he was acquitted after magistrates viewed CCTV footage of the clash and ruled he had used ‘reasonable force’.

The police constable, from Brampton in Cambridgeshire, is now waiting to hear whether he will face misconduct proceedings which could yet end his career. His wife, Laura, 31, a civilian member of staff at Cambridgeshire Police, faces the sack after admitting that she assaulted the boy’s mother.

She was accused of knocking 34-year-old Keeley Braniff to the ground, scratching her neck and then kicking her in the ribs before stamping on her hand.

The scuffle broke out among families at Butlin’s in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, late one evening during the October half-term.

Horsham Magistrates’ Court heard last week that PC Kafel kicked a football belonging to the boy and his friend up in the air after his 11-year-old son said they had bullied him.

His son also threw a bag of chips at one of the boys. The boy’s mother, grandmother and others leapt up and there was a confrontation during which the officer pushed the boy in the face, sending him stumbling backwards

PC Kafel, a policeman for 17 years, said he had kicked the ball after his son said he had been held under the water for five seconds and that the boys had threatened to punch him.

During the confrontation, he feared the boy was about to attack his son. ‘I pushed him with my right hand to move him away,’ he said. ‘I used reasonable force because I could see my son was scared. It was not a forceful push.’

Magistrates ruled the push represented ‘reasonable force’ because on CCTV the boy showed no signs of being hurt and did not hit the ground.

At Crawley Magistrates’ Court on May 29, Kafel’s wife admitted assault by beating. She was given a 12-month conditional discharge, and ordered to pay £100 compensation, a £20 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

The Metropolitan Police said PC Kafel had been put on ‘restricted duties’ while the case was investigated and a misconduct review would now take place. Cambridgeshire Police said: ‘Laura Kafel is subject to a gross misconduct investigation. She remains employed by the force.’

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