A Surrey Police officer who punched a suspected burglar in the head has has been found guilty of assault.

On September 16, 2017 while carrying out an arrest for a suspected burglary and criminal damage offence, Police Constable Matthew Fitzgibbon, who was a temporary sergeant at the time, punched a 20 year-old man in the head as he lay on the floor. The arrest took place outside a property in East Street, Epsom.

PC Fitzgibbon’s colleagues raised concerns after the incident and on September 22 an independent investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct was launched.

Deputy Chief Constable Gavin Stephens said: “Policing is a challenging job and I have no doubt that every officer comes to work to do their best, however there are moments when those normally high standards fall below what we expect and see on a day to day basis.

“It is of note that these concerns were raised by his colleagues which shows a great amount of integrity on their part and gives me confidence that officers are willing to come forward and do the right thing.

“Having recognised that this was a serious matter we immediately referred it to the Independent Officer for Police Conduct which has carried out an independent investigation.”

PC Fitzgibbon was found guilty following a one-day trial at Westminster Magistrates Court on January 4.

He will be sentenced at the same court on January 18.

Following the verdict, PC Fitzgibbon will now be the subject of a misconduct process.