Monday, January 2, 2012

Northamptonshire Police constable who sent racist and sexist texts still in job

A POLICE officer found guilty of gross misconduct after sending racist and sexist texts is still in his job, Northamptonshire Police has confirmed.

The behaviour of the constable, was revealed in a Freedom of Information request submitted to the force by a member of the public, which said the officer had been disciplined earlier this year over text messages sent to another officer while off duty.
Although the force insisted it did not tolerate sexism or racism, follow-up questions by the Chron have revealed the officer is still working in the county.

A Northamptonshire police spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that this year an officer was found guilty of racially and sexually-related misconduct, which involved the sending of inappropriate texts.

“It was found that these breached the high standards Northamptonshire Police demands of its officers. Sexist and racist behaviour will not be tolerated on or off duty.
“The officer in question accepted that the texts were wrong. The panel determined that the matter had not affected the officer’s service to the community and as such the individual concerned has been allowed to continue to serve for the force.”

For such misconduct, an officer could potentially lose their job, but it is only one of a number of sanctions that can be brought, depending on the severity of the case. In each case, previous good conduct and character is taken into consideration.

Anjona Roy, chief executive of Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council, said knowing a still-serving officer had sent racist and sexist texts could damage public confidence in the force.

She said: “Policing is dependent on people’s confidence in officers. They are in a position of power and people have to feel that it won’t be used for unfair purposes.”
“I’d like to see all police standards reports made available where the officer has been found guilty so the public can judge for themselves if they think the punishment is proportionate or not.”

Michael Ellis, the Conservative MP for Northampton South, said: “I don’t know the full details of this case but I believe there should be zero tolerance of sexist or racist behaviour in the force.”

Northamptonshire Police Authority said it was unable to comment because it had not seen all the facts as presented to the panel.