Support worker assaulted man in his care on day out to Largs

Ken Merchant punched the service user and repeatedly slapped him on the head.

Support worker assaulted man in his care on day out to Largs Google Maps
Largs: The incident happened during an organised trip in December 2019.

A support worker who attacked a “highly vulnerable” man in his care on a day out to Largs has been struck off the register.

Ken Merchant punched the service user and repeatedly slapped him on the head.

He also struck his victim on the body with his elbow and arm, seized him, restrained him, and sat on top of him.

The incident happened at Largs Pier Office, The Promenade, during an organised trip in December 2019.

Merchant found himself in the dock for the assault in North Ayrshire and was convicted at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court in December 2020.

Following the conclusion of the court hearing, the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) concluded last month that Merchant’s fitness to practise was impaired.

In a report published online, the SSSC panel stated: “Being convicted of a crime of violence calls into question your suitability to work as a social service worker as it demonstrates you are willing to place others at risk of harm.

“Your actions had the potential to cause significant physical and emotional harm to [the service user] and emotional harm to those who witnessed your behaviour.

“Your actions were an abuse of trust placed in you by the service user, their family, and the public generally.

“Your conviction demonstrates a serious contempt for the dignity and safety of service users in your care and are not reflective of a caring and responsible professional.”

Merchant, who cooperated with the SSSC investigation, ‘lost his patience’ due to the challenging behaviour of the service user.

The SSSC said that while “no actual physical harm” was noted in relation to the service user, there was a “real risk of significant physical and emotional harm to him”.

The panel stated: “You have minimised and, in part, denied the behaviour for which you were convicted. We cannot be assured that there is no risk of repetition.”

Striking Merchant off the care register, the panel stated: “The SSSC considers that a removal order is the most appropriate sanction as it is both necessary and justified in the public interest and to maintain the continuing trust and confidence in the social service profession and the SSSC as the regulator of the profession.”

Merchant was notified of the removal order in June. It came into effect on July 3.