An Oxfordshire policeman who beat a man while on duty and hit another when off duty has escaped a jail sentence.

Jonathan Herbert, 34, was yesterday ordered to carry out 100 hours' community service, wear an electronic tag and go on an anger management course.

Herbert was convicted of assaulting Christopher Hawes at the Litten Tree pub in Bicester on November 10 last year, when he was off duty.

And on December 16 Herbert, who lives in Bicester and has a young daughter, assaulted motorist Terrance Donnelly while on duty in Oxford, Thames Valley Police spokesman Tim Prince said.

At Reading Magistrates' Court the former police constable was ordered to pay both his victims £150 compensation within two months.

He will wear an electronic tag for the next three months, attend anger management classes and is under a curfew to stay at home between 8.30pm and 7am every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday for three months.

Herbert was told by district judge Deborah Wright he would have been jailed had it not been for an "exemplary character reference" from his former employers.

Mr Prince refused to comment on why the force had given Herbert a good reference, but said the Pc was suspended from duty in January this year.

He added: "He was reinstated in July in a non-public facing role in Reading, a post which he kept until his trial."

Herbert resigned after being convicted of two charges of assault in a trial at Newbury Magistrates' Court on September 15.

Mr Prince said Thames Valley Police did not have to consider sacking Herbert because of his resignation.

He added: "He almost certainly would have been suspended from duty had he not resigned.

"We did not go down that route, though, because of his resignation.

"Someone with a court conviction who has to wear an electronic tag would almost certainly have been dismissed."

The judge had adjourned yesterday's hearing twice after being told by the probation service that Herbert was not suitable for an anger management course, as he was suffering from stress following his divorce.

But she ordered he should take the course, because of the seriousness of the offences and because there had been a third incident, which did not reach the courts but was dealt with by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

She said: "My concern is not just these incidents, but another one before, which indicates there is an anger management problem."

She told Herbert he would "almost certainly" go to jail if he breached any of the conditions of his sentence.

Last night, IPCC spokesman Richard Offer said that inquiries into the third incident were continuing and involved an incident which also took place in Bicester on October 14 last year.

He said there were no "hard and fast" guidelines on suspension of police officers and decisions were made on a case-by-case basis by each force.