Police officer charged with assaulting Accrington car thief will face no further action

A police officer will face no further action after prosecutors ruled he used "necessary force" when arresting a car thief in Accrington

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 5:32 pm

The IOPC launched an investigation after footage of Adeel Ashraf's arrest - which showed him being restrained by a number of officers in Lonsdale Street on January 8 - was shared on social media.

PC Saul Hignett, 27, was subsequently charged with Section 39 assault following the investigation.

The officer was due to face trial in May 2021, but the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has confirmed the case has now been discontinued.

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"Following a further review of the case, the CPS has concluded that there is no longer a realistic prospect of conviction and has stopped the prosecution of PC Saul Hignett for assault of a man during the course of an arrest in January 2020," a CPS spokeswoman said.

"The CPS has a duty to keep all cases under continuous review. After receiving a report from the defence by an expert in the use of force, the CPS instructed its own independent expert, who agreed with the defence expert and concluded after taking into account all the evidence, including footage of the incident, that the officer was using force that was reasonable, proportionate and necessary.

"In those circumstances there is not a realistic prospect of conviction and we cannot proceed with the case. We have written to the complainant explaining the reasons for the decision."

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PC Saul Hignett will face no further action.

Ashraf was jailed for 16 months in March 2020 after pleading guilty to dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle-taking, and driving without a licence and insurance

Burnley Crown Court heard the arrest took place following a 10-minute daytime pursuit through residential streets in Accrington.

During the pursuit Ashraf deliberately drove towards at least one police car.

The CPS say PC Saul Hignett used reasonable, proportionate and necessary force and will face no further action.

An IOPC spokesman added: "The CPS’s decision to discontinue the case means PC Hignett will not face criminal proceedings in relation to this incident.

"A decision on disciplinary proceedings is still pending."

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