Special constables BANNED over 'discriminatory messages'

Avon and Somerset Police HQ

The misconduct hearing was held at police HQ in Portishead - Credit: LDRS

Two former Special Constables have been barred from policing over 'discriminatory social media messages'.

The decision to bar the pair, who worked in South Gloucestershire and in Somerset, came after a misconduct hearing at Police Headquarters in Portishead on Friday (June 10).

Both volunteer 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. 

The two have 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 medical evidence provided in advance of the hearing. 

Avon and Somerset Police said the Professional Standards Department launched an investigation after numerous 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.

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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."