Durham Constabulary has removed two officers from firearms duties and given a final warning after they destroyed a deer.
They have only been removed because their actions which helped a deer in great suffering brought discredit upon Durham Constabulary.
The incident follows the two officers attending an incident in Tanfield Lea in Stanley in June 2014.
The firearms officers were dispatched to an incident on June 9 when an adult deer was reported as being injured by the side of the road having possibly been hit by traffic.
The officers who both have extensive firearms experience remained with the deer for sometime until the deer managed to get up on its weak legs.
Following advice from animal welfare experts they carried the deer away from the road to a nearby woodland, the officers would have been justified in destroying deer. The approach they took allowed the deer a chance of survival.
on June 11 another report was received of an adult deer lying on the road having apparently been hit by traffic.
The same two officers were sent to the scene and the hearing accepted they rightly assumed the deer was the same animal from two days previously.
The officers, intending to make sure the deer was dead and not suffering further, struck the animal several times with a large blunt tool carried as standard equipment in larger road policing vehicles.
Although the officers actions were in the best interests of the animal and that neither gained any satisfaction from the circumstances and that the actions of the officers were not borne from cruelty although the accepted practice of disposing the animal with a firearm was not followed.
A Force spokesman said: “Durham Constabulary regrets the actions of the officers. Our partnership with the public and its confidence in police actions is paramount to us.
“We expect our officers to adhere to the Code of Ethics, which defines our legitimacy, at all times.
“Balancing the allegations proven, the single nature of the incident and the health of the officers’ misconduct history the panel feel that an outcome of a final written warning for each officer was proportionate in the circumstances.
“The lessons from this incident will be considered in some depth and will be used to improve the Force response to such incidents in the future.”