Police officer sacked for repeatedly punching his five-month-old puppy

Police officer punches dog in back garden in 2021

A police officer has been sacked after repeatedly punching his five-month-old puppy at his home, Greater Manchester Police confirmed. 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 May 2 and was dismissed without notice. Dunn pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary harm to an animal contrary to the Animal Welfare Act at Leeds Magistrates’ Court in April 2021.

The incident happened in March 2021 when he was filmed punching the Springer Spaniel and reported to the police. The footage was widely shared online.

Dunn has been ordered to undertake 120 hours of unpaid work and was banned from keeping animals for five years.

After the incident was reported, he was placed on restricted duties whilst it was 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”.

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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.”

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