A Blackpool policeman convicted of drink-driving on duty has been sacked – by the same man who once handed him a bravery award.
Three years after honouring PC Iain Norton for fighting off a dangerous dog, Chief Constable Steve Finnegan said the 41-year-old’s decision to climb behind the wheel of a police van earlier this year amounted to gross misconduct.
Norton, who pleaded guilty at Furness Magistrates’ Court in Barrow in August, was fired with immediate effect following a recent hearing in Leyland.
In a statement, the force said: “The Chief Constable, Mr Finnigan, found the allegation against PC Norton proven and in breach of the standards of professional behaviour in the areas of fitness for duty and discreditable conduct.
“The allegation related to PC Norton driving a police vehicle whilst being over the legal alcohol limit, and being unfit to perform his duties.
“Mr Finnigan found the conduct amounted to gross misconduct and PC Iain Norton was dismissed from Lancashire Constabulary with immediate effect.”
Norton, from Wesham, was awarded for his bravery in November 2013, after grabbing a bull terrier around the mouth as it attacked a woman.
Despite being repeatedly bitten, he fought the dog off and saved the woman from further injury.
But at the same time, Norton was struggling with personal problems which had led him to drink a bottle of vodka daily, it emerged in court.
In 2007, his mother tried to end her own life, and in 2010, he was in an abusive relation ‘not at his hands’, defence solicitor Chris Fallows said.
Norton’s fall from grace came on March 20 this year, after he drove a suspected shoplifter the short distance from TK Maxx in Bank Hey Street to Bonny Street Police Station.
He was breathlysed after a colleague said he could smell alcohol on his breath, and found to be over the limit.
He was arrested and later suspended, telling colleagues: “I know it’s not brilliant.”
Norton was ordered to pay an £800 fine, £600 in court costs, and a victim surcharge of £80, and was also banned from driving.
He was seeking help for his problems, the court heard.