A LEWISHAM police officer has been spared jail for punching a suspect in the face who allegedly spat in the officer’s mouth.

PC Rohan Scarlett was sentenced to a three months community order, given a curfew and ordered to pay compensation to his victim at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on September 20 for common assault.

The 47-year-old, who denied the charge, punched Andrew Uba twice after the suspect spat at him as he put him in a police van to transfer him from Islington Police Station to Lewisham on February 20 at 3am.

Scarlett, a former nightclub doorman and security guard, previously told the court he did not want to be assaulted again and hit Uba to "distract him" from spitting a second time.

Speaking of the sentencing, Commander Allan Gibson, of the Met’s service directorate of professional standards, said: "I appreciate that there was alleged provocation in this case, but police officers are expected to remain professional at all times; irrespective of provocation.

"PC Scarlett failed to remain professional; he reacted and has paid the price of being convicted at court.

"Now that the criminal proceedings are complete the misconduct process can continue."

Scarlett was found guilty of common assault on August 27 and remains suspended from his duties.