A West Mercia Police officer has been found guilty of the manslaughter of former professional footballer Dalian Atkinson.

PC Benjamin Monk tasered the former footballer for 33 seconds and kicked him in the head at least two times during a confrontation in August 2016.

A statement on the West Mercia Police website reads:

Statement from Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Jones: 

Good afternoon, I am Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Jones of West Mercia Police.

Today a jury at Birmingham Crown Court has found PC Ben Monk guilty of the manslaughter of Dalian Atkinson.

Words alone cannot express the deep regret and shock I feel that I must stand here and address you today because a West Mercia officer has been found to be criminally responsible for Dalian’s death. 

I am sincerely sorry and extend my apologies and deep condolences to Dalian’s family and friends. You have demonstrated great dignity and strength throughout.

Dalian’s death has devastated his family, friends and local community. It has also caused great shock and sadness throughout the police service.

Police officers come to work to serve their communities and keep the public safe. Our uniform should represent justice, public safety and the observance of the law. Those who wear it, as individuals, are also subject to those laws and should be held to the very highest standards of conduct and behaviour. A police uniform does not grant officers immunity to behave unlawfully or to abuse the powers bestowed upon us by the public.

On the night of the 15th of August 2016, PC Ben Monk behaved in a way that has been found to have directly contributed to Dalian’s death, and he has been convicted as a result.

We do not underestimate the impact of this case and today’s verdict. It is wide-reaching and immeasurable. Nor do we underestimate the significant damage that it has done to the trust and confidence in the police locally and nationally, particularly to Black people. It causes grave concern within the police service.

We work hard to build and maintain the trust and confidence of the communities we serve. When something happens to harm that relationship, we must stop, listen and work with the public, particularly those communities where trust is fragile, to strengthen those bonds. We recognise there is much to do.

This was a lengthy and complex process led by the Independent Office of Police Conduct. Whilst I acknowledge that it was delayed in part due to COVID, it has still taken nearly five years to complete, which has been an extremely long and difficult journey for all involved. 

The Independent Office of Police Conduct made a number of recommendations to us following Dalian’s death, including the introduction of Body Worn Video and further training regarding Taser use. I want to reassure you those recommendations have been implemented. We will also continue to work with national colleagues to support and implement further change to ensure we continue to be in-line with best practice.

With regard to PC Monk’s conviction, West Mercia Police is now able to undertake a fast-track misconduct process.

Once again I extend my deepest condolences and sincere apologies to Dalian’s family for his death and for the tragic circumstances in which he died.