Police chief defends PSO for striking 11-year-old boy who spat at her

Victoria Police chief Shane Patton has defended the actions of a protective services officer after footage emerged of her slapping an 11-year-old boy who spat at her a Melbourne train station.

Footage broadcast by 3AW on Thursday showed the boy, with his hands restrained behind his back, repeatedly swearing and using a racial slur while accompanied by two PSOs.

Victoria Police chief commissioner Shane Patton.Credit:Paul Jeffers

The video, taken on Australia Day, then shows the child spit at the female officer before she slaps him.

Victoria Police chief commissioner Shane Patton described the officer’s actions as a “redirection strike”.

“He spits on a PSO and that PSO then reacts, and you call it a ‘slap’, I call it a redirection strike,” Patton told Neil Mitchell on Thursday morning.

The police boss told the radio station the incident took place at Noble Park station on January 26, and the PSOs were there at the request of Metro Train staff.

The two officers apprehended the boy as a suspect, but the commissioner did not go into details about what the boy had allegedly done.

“There’s no doubt he’s been struck, it’s redirected his face as you will see away from it, stopped any further threat,” he said.

The officer involved put in a use of force form, and we’re aware the incident was filmed on a mobile phone and on CCTV, Patton said.

“He’d spat at her, so it’s been looked at, and they [the PSOs] were aware their actions were coming under scrutiny,” Patton said.

The police chief said he was comfortable appropriate processes had been followed since the incident, and added it was possible the boy could face charges for his role in the incident.

The age of criminal responsibility in Australia is 10.

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