Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Police inspector on trial for assaulting vulnerable boy: ‘I stand by my actions’

South Wales Police inspector Dean Gittoes at Newport Magistrates Court accused of common assault against a 16-year-old boy outside a police station. Picture date: Tuesday October 4, 2022.
South Wales Police inspector Dean Gittoes at Newport Magistrates Court accused of common assault against a 16-year-old boy outside a police station. Picture date: Tuesday October 4, 2022.

A police officer accused of assaulting a vulnerable teenage boy who was filming outside a police station has said he “stands by his actions”.

Inspector Dean Gittoes, 49, of Merthyr Tydfil, is on trial for beating the 16-year-old while off-duty on August 20 last year.

The incident was captured on a now-deleted YouTube video that was recorded by the youth, who claimed at the time to be “auditing” Merthyr Tydfil Police Station in South Wales.

Auditing relates to a global online community of people who record and upload videos of government buildings, such as police stations.

The teenager can be seen filming the station building and car park before being confronted by Gittoes in footage played to Gwent Magistrates’ Court.

Gittoes, who had gone to the station on his day off to pick up a mobile phone, is seen wearing a grey Swansea City football club shirt and black shorts and asks the boy: “Who you are? What’s your name?”

When the boy refuses to give his details, answering only that he was filming, the inspector accuses him of being a terrorist and within seconds arrests him.

A scuffle takes place during which Gittoes confiscates the boy’s phone and places him into an arm restraint.

On CCTV cameras, he can be seen leading the boy into the station and later using the restraint to force him to his knees.

In another clip, he appears to shove the youth into a wall.

The teenager’s sobs and cries of pain can be heard as his phone continues to record the audio, and he can later be heard shouting “he’s choking me”.

Gittoes can be heard telling the boy: “You’re a clever little internet freak who’s about to learn the hard way.”

The phone picks up Gittoes’ conversation with colleagues during which he said: “Six weeks ago I dealt with someone like this and the bosses so far think it’s a joke.

“Anyone I catch now I don’t give them a second chance.”

He later said: “F*** him this time. I’ll do what I should’ve done last time.”

Gittoes told the court that due to two previous incidents involving auditors at the police station, and threats directed at officers based there by gangs, he believed the teenager to be carrying out hostile reconnaissance and therefore a terror threat.

Prosecutors say the arrest was unlawful and that Gittoes did not honestly believe the boy was committing a terror offence.

Instead they say he was acting out of his dislike of auditors and frustration with the way senior officers were handling incidents with auditors.

One of the previous incidents involved the arrest of David Abrahams – who ran a YouTube page dedicated to auditing, called Iechyd Dai – at the station in September 2020, following which he was issued a community protection notice (CPN).

The second incident involved Gittoes, who had confronted another South Wales-based auditor who had visited the station to film in June last year.

Although Gittoes did not arrest him, a video of their interaction was uploaded to the internet and attracted thousands and views and comments, some of which discussed finding where the inspector and his family lived.

Gittoes admitted in court that he had later gone on the man’s site and became concerned about the content on there which included “audits” of other police stations and government buildings such as the Senedd.

He told the court: “In hindsight I wished I had arrested him.

“It concerned me that these videos could assist someone wanting to attack a police station or wanting to do harm to a government building.”

The court has heard that guidance issued by South Wales Police and seen by Gittoes after similar incidents across the force area advised officers that members of the public have a general right to film government buildings on public property and that it does not constitute a terrorist offence to do so.

It also said that if a person identifies themselves as an auditor, to ignore them.

However, Gittoes told the court: “I felt we should not be ignoring people on the basis of them calling themselves auditors if there’s a clear threat there.”

In an interview with Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) investigators after his arrest of the youth, Gittoes said: “I stand by my actions.

“Sometimes you can’t follow the guidance and you have to take a risk.”

In court, he said: “What I’m seeing is someone dressed suspiciously, filming and not giving me any explanation.

“I didn’t feel I could just walk away. I thought he was a threat.”

Detective Inspector Katherine Morris, from counter-terrorism, told Gittoes after the arrest that the teenager was “clearly not a terrorist”, and a custody sergeant assessed the boy as “vulnerable” before he was released without charge.

The trial continues.