British police officer sacked after offensive and racist Whatsapp messages about Travellers

British police officer sacked after offensive and racist Whatsapp messages about Travellers

A POLICE officer has been sacked after he used offensive and racist terms about Travellers on a private WhatsApp group with work colleagues.

PC Jeffrey Cresswell made the comments following a Traveller funeral in Bedford, England, in November 2021.

On Thursday, he was dismissed without notice at an Accelerated Misconduct Hearing in front of Bedfordshire Police Chief Constable Garry Forsyth.

"PC Cresswell's choice of language was abhorrent and completely unacceptable," Mr Forsyth said after the hearing.

"We are here to police all our communities impartially, there is no place in Bedfordshire, or policing, for individuals that participate in offensive, racist and discriminatory behaviour."

Challenged by colleagues

The hearing heard that the private WhatsApp group was formed between other officers and PCSOs to keep in touch outside of work.

PC Cresswell was on a rest day when he used his personal phone to post the comments to the group.

The comments were alleged to be offensive and racist in nature.

He was immediately challenged by colleagues and the content of the chat was reported to supervisors the following day, which led to a Professional Standards Department investigation.

PC Cresswell made full admissions and was found to have breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour for Authority, respect and courtesy; Equality and diversity and Discreditable conduct.

Mr Forsyth ruled that PC Cresswell — who tended his resignation as a Police Constable earlier this month — would be dismissed without notice.

"Across the force we are working extremely hard to improve our collective understanding of different cultures and we encourage our people to call out unacceptable behaviour – so it's reassuring his colleagues immediately challenged him and reported the matter to supervisors," said Mr Forsyth.

"The courage and standards of these officers can only serve to reinforce the scale of departure from the standards of professional behaviour by PC Cresswell and the grossly offensive nature of his posts."