Two former Special Constables with 38yrs service have been barred from policing following an accelerated misconduct hearing held at Police Headquarters today (Friday 10 June).
Both Special Constables had already resigned prior to the hearing, which was chaired by Gwent Police Chief Constable Pam Kelly. The panel found gross misconduct was proven and ruled they would have been dismissed on the evidence presented. They’ve also been added to a national barred list preventing them from working in policing or other law enforcement agencies again.
Their identities were kept anonymous following a decision by the chair partly on the basis of the medical evidence provided in advance of the hearing. One of them was based in South Gloucestershire and the other in Somerset. Both served as volunteers during their time with the police service.
Our Professional Standards Department launched an investigation after 26 discriminatory social media messages were found on their personal mobile phones in a chat between the two of them, which spanned from 2019 to 2021. The comments were racist, against BME communities, homophobic, and misogynistic in nature.
Head of Professional Standards Supt Jane Wigmore said: “The messages shared in a private chat between these two Special Constables on their personal phones were abhorrent and deeply offensive, and after reading them I felt utterly disgusted and sickened.
“Their actions in no way reflect the hard work and dedication of our volunteers in the Special Constabulary, who also feel hugely let down and ashamed at what’s been uncovered.
“We will not tolerate discrimination in any form and we held this accelerated hearing as soon as possible to ensure they were rooted out of the police service and are unable to serve again. There is no place for them in policing, full stop.
“We regularly speak to our officers, staff and volunteers about responsible use of social media and we remain resolute in our ambition to create a culture and environment where discrimination has absolutely no place to thrive.
“We’ve made it clear to all our officers, police staff and volunteers that they have a compelling duty to call out this behaviour when they see it or hear it – whether it’s in person, on a social media message or on a private chat facility, and we have anonymous and confidential reporting channels in place so they can do this.”
Avon & Somerset Constabulary
- Stats since 1st January 2022
25 Misconduct Hearings
92% held in public