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Police chief pledges zero tolerance after gross misconduct hearings

The behaviour of two West Midlands Police officers were found to have amounted to gross misconduct this week, and would have resulted in instant dismissal had they both not resigned before their respective misconduct hearings.

In separate incidents, each was found to have made or shared inappropriate racist, homophobic and derogatory comments on social media.

Edward Pitt, a former constable on the Hall Green neighbourhood policing team, appeared before an independent panel yesterday (20 Nov). They decided the use of his personal Twitter account to post racist, derogatory, sexist, political and otherwise offensive comments were wholly inappropriate in his position as a police officer, after it was reported by a member of the public.

On Tuesday, Chief Constable Dave Thompson chaired a misconduct hearing where Nick Slym, a former response sergeant in Dudley, was found to have made similar inappropriate comments via WhatsApp. Both officers would have been dismissed without notice had they not already resigned. Edward Pitt has been placed on the barred list. Birmingham East Commander, Chief Superintendent Kenny Bell, said:

“The College of Policing code of ethics clearly sets out the standards of professional behaviour which everyone in the service should strive to uphold whether at work or away from work, online or offline.

“Most police officers and staff uphold these high standards and social media can be a really useful way of us talking and connecting to people positively, but this must be done with fairness, impartiality, equality and respect at all times. Not only because it’s the right thing to do, it’s fundamental to maintaining the trust and confidence of the public. 

“All forms of discriminatory behaviour and conduct are completely inexcusable and have no place in the police service. Anyone who abuses that responsibility will be held to account. The behaviour of these former officers was totally unacceptable.”

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