James Kiddie
PC James Kiddie was sentenced to a 150-hour community order after been found guilty of assault Neumans

A police officer who was filmed punching a suspected shoplifter in the head three times has escaped jail.

PC James Kiddie, 44, was found guilty of common assault following the incident at the Uniqlo clothing store in Regent Street on 26 November 2013.

Kiddie was called to the shop by security guards after Sarah Reed was suspected of shoplifting. She was detained in the shop's storeroom until Kiddie arrived on the scene by himself.

While attempting to search her bag, Kiddie punched Reed three times in the head. CCTV footage also showed the officer grabbing her hair and kneeling on her neck until back-up arrived.

He has since been dismissed from the Metropolitan Police force after a second officer reviewed the footage and alerted the force's Directorate of Professional Standards.

Kiddie told Westminster Magistrates' Court that Reed had bitten him on the finger and claimed that she had the Aids virus.

After been found guilty following a three-day trial, Kiddie was sentenced to 150 hours of community service and told to pay a total of £560 in costs and victim surcharge.

Upon sentencing, Judge Elizabeth Roscoe accepted that Reed was an "aggressive" woman and described Kiddie's actions as an "instinctive and immediate retaliation in anger."

Met Police Territorial Policing asst comms Simon Byrne said Kiddie's colleagues would have been "sickened" by his actions.

He added: "Where an officer's behaviour falls short of the very high standards that we and the public expect of them, then it is only right that they are held to account for their actions.

"The actions of one officer abusing his position in this way can cast a shadow over the thousands of officers who are on duty right now demonstrating bravery, compassion, integrity and professionalism.

"PC Kiddie's behaviour that day, which was identified and reported by another officer, was wrong. For that he has been held accountable. There is no place in the Metropolitan Police Service for officers and staff who do not uphold our values."

Alison Newcomb, borough cmdr for Westminster said after his conviction that Kiddie had dealt a "severe blow" to the reputation of the Met Police.

Police confirmed Kiddie had previously been the subject of two substantiated complaints - in 2008 for lack of courtesy and respect and in 2011 for discriminatory comments.