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GMP officer sacked for animal cruelty offence

A Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officer has been sacked after admitting an animal cruelty offence.

Police Sergeant Martin Dunn, who worked in GMP’s Specialist Operations Branch, admitted gross misconduct at an independent disciplinary panel at GMP Force Headquarters on 2 May 2023 and was dismissed without notice.

Sgt Dunn pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary harm to an animal contrary to the Animal Welfare Act at Leeds Magistrates’ Court in April 2021.

Dunn was seen to punch his five-month-old Springer Spaniel several times after it had defecated in the house.  

The incident in March 2021 was filmed and reported to police, as well as being shared online.

Dunn received a sentence that included a community order requiring 120 hours of unpaid work and a ban from keeping animals for 5 years.

He had been on restricted duties since the incident was reported and investigated by West Yorkshire Police.

Chief Superintendent Michael Allen, Head of GMP’s Professional Standards Branch, said: “Greater Manchester Police expects the highest standards of conduct from its officers, both on and off duty, and Dunn’s actions clearly fell far short of these standards.

“The vast majority of police officers and staff fulfil their duties in serving the public to the highest standard and demonstrate exemplary behaviour in their private lives.

“Public trust and confidence in the police is vital and GMP does not underestimate the importance of officers and staff demonstrating the highest standards of professional behaviour towards not only members of the public but also to animals.

“Having a criminal conviction for animal cruelty makes Dunn wholly unsuitable to continue serving as a police officer and his cruelty towards Frank the dog is ultimately why he has lost his job.

“Dunn’s actions, which have rightly been condemned by the public and his colleagues, bring the profession into disrepute and damage the confidence the public has in police officers.

“I would like to thank West Yorkshire Police, who investigated this case criminally, and, working with the Crown Prosecution Service, secured the conviction at criminal court.

“GMP’s Professional Standards Branch has a responsibility to hold policing to account, taking action where misconduct is identified, and under new management this work is now accelerating, focusing both on legacy cases and new reports.”

Dunn’s defence said he ‘unreservedly accepted the allegations’ and that it was an isolated incident.

Paul Forster, the chairman of the independent panel, said the decision had been reached to ‘maintain public confidence in the police service’.

He added: “Hearings like this are about the individual but also about much more, with bigger and wider considerations in play.

“Therefore, the most appropriate outcome is dismissal without notice.”

How to report animal cruelty

If you see, or suspect, that a person may be treating an animal badly, whether this is physical violence, neglect or any other form of cruelty, they should be reported to the RSPCA at www.rspca.org.uk/utilities/contactus/reportcruelty.

Reports can also be made to 0300 1234 999. 

(Source: Greater Manchester Police)

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