A FORMER police officer has been given a suspended prison sentence for assaulting a detainee while still serving in the force.

Jonathan Reynolds, 35, of Pont Glas, Newtown, was found guilty of two assault charges after a two day trial in February.

He was found to have used incapacitant spray directly into the face of the detainee, who had been provoking him but was handcuffed at the time, from close range outside the Castle Vaults pub in Newtown on May 27, last year.

Reynolds also used excessive force in pushing the victim into the wall and floor at Newtown Police Station.

He resigned from Dyfed-Powys Police earlier this month.

At his sentencing hearing at Swansea Magistrates Court, Vaughan Pritchard-Jones, prosecuting, read out a personal impact statement from the victim.

He said: "I accept I was aggressive with my words but I did not show violence to any officer. I was no threat and was already restrained. I could have had damage caused to my eyes.

"As a result of the way I've been treated I have lost all faith in the police. I feel that I was treated badly, let down by one officer, and it has lost the trust and confidence I have in the officers of Dyfed-Powys Police."

John Ryan, defending Reynolds, said it was an "isolated incident" under a "greater degree of provocation", costing him professionally and personally with a huge impact on his family.

"It was utterly out of character in strained and provoked circumstances", he said.

"Testimonials show him to be a good and valued officer, one of real commitment to helping victims, and one of his strengths was de-escalating situations. Now he has lost his career."

Mr Ryan added: "He went back on duty that night and attended to a suicidal member of the public.

"It was a momentary loss of professionalism."

District judge Christopher James said that as a serving officer, Reynolds actions that night crossed the custody threshold as the incapacitant spray was effectively used "as a weapon".

He said: "The public put a great trust in the police to discharge their duties with integrity, fairly and responsibly.

"There are guidelines that it (the spray) is not to be used in close proximity to the face.

"On that day you clearly breached the trust placed in you and used the very thing you were entrusted with, to inflict your own justice. It was wholly unjustifiable. You completely lost your temper.

"You fought the matter to trial and were convicted on overwhelming evidence. The provocation did not justify or condone your actions."

Reynolds was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid work in the community.

Hr will also pay £1,500 towards the costs of the trial, £500 in compensation to the victim , and a £115 victim surcharge.

Last week a force misconduct hearing found that Reynolds would have been sacked for his actions had he not resigned from his position earlier this year, and he was barred from rejoining the police.