Saturday, 25 May 2019

"Drunk spat in my face as I arrested him"

A POLICE officer has told of his disgust after being spat at while on duty.

A POLICE officer has told of his disgust after being spat at while on duty.

Pc Lee Butler, 32, was attacked while arresting Jason McGarvey for being drunk and disorderly outside Magoos bar in Hart Street, Henley.

McGarvey, 27, of Emmons Close, Checkendon, pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer when he appeared at Oxford Magistrates’ Court.

Pc Butler called him a “horrible person” and said spitting was the “lowest form of retaliation”.

“It was disgusting — we don’t tolerate that sort of behaviour,” he said.

McGarvey had been ejected from the bar for being abusive at about 1am on July 13 when Pc Butler and his colleague went to speak to him.

He was propped up against the neighbouring Jonkers bookshop and began swearing at the officers. When they tried to arrest him he became violent. Pc Butler, who has been a police officer at Henley station for three years, said: “First he tried to punch my colleague in the face and in the process of detaining him he turned round while we each had hold of his arms and spat at my face.

“I wanted to let go to wipe it off but that wasn’t an option.

“I had to get him down to the ground to stop him doing it again. The entire time he was still being violent. We managed to detain him on the floor, where we handcuffed him and had to put leg restraints on because he nearly kicked one of my colleagues in the face.”

“There was no talking to him. From the moment we started speaking to him he was aggressive and rude.

“The spitting just topped it off really. He didn’t care. It’s one of the worst things to be spat at, especially in the face. It wasn’t very pleasant at all.”

McGarvey was taken into custody and spent a night in a cell at Abingdon police station before being charged the next day with being drunk and disorderly and assault.

Pc Butler said McGarvey didn’t say sorry to him.

“In the morning he remembered doing it but still made no apology.

“It’s one of every police officer’s hates, being spat at. I felt quite angry at the time and disgusted.

“One of my female colleagues has been spat at. Luckily, it’s quite a rare occurrence around here.”

McGarvey was sentenced to 80 hours of community service and ordered to pay £100 compensation, a victim surcharge of £60 and £85 court costs.

Pc Butler said he was happy with the outcome, adding: “Spitting is worse than being hit because it’s so horrible and there’s the potential if someone has something like hepatitis that you could contract it. It shows they have no regard for you whatsoever. It’s a good thing the court recognised this and that police officers shouldn’t be assaulted in the course of their duties.”

Pc Butler said an officer’s job often involved receiving abuse when trying to calm situations.

“We’re given training to be able to deal with it and explain to people what we’re doing to calm them down,” he said.

“Drink heightens their feelings and they don’t listen to what we’ve got to say. They don’t understand that we’ve got a job to do as well and are trying to prevent any harm.”

lWhat do you think? Write to: Letters, Henley Standard, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley, RG9 1AD or email

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