140 police officers disciplined over racist' email
PUBLISHED: 10:43 30 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:17 06 May 2010
A TOTAL of 140 police officers and staff in Herts Constabulary have been disciplined over a potentially offensive and possibly racist email which was circulated within the force. Fifteen are managers and there was more serious punishment for them - ei
A TOTAL of 140 police officers and staff in Herts Constabulary have been disciplined over a "potentially offensive" and possibly "racist" email which was circulated within the force.
Fifteen are managers and there was more serious punishment for them - eight police officers were rapped over the knuckles with formal reprimands and seven civilian members of staff were given final written warnings.
The email, originating from the USA, was entitled "Do not run from the police".
It purported to show a fleeing black suspect attempting to jump from a flyover to a nearby building. He fails and is decapitated by some railings.
Four hundred and forty emails were received by people in Herts Constabulary. Three hundred of them were either not opened or deleted, but 140 were passed on.
A "wide ranging and robust investigation" was launched last May after they came to light. It was supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
The result was revealed on Tuesday.
Deputy chief constable Simon Ash, who oversaw the investigation, said: "I am disappointed by the conduct of officers and staff who distributed this inappropriate image that some people may have perceived as being racist.
"The discipline process has been used in respect of those individuals who contravened our organisational values and standards and clearly breached our internet security and use policy."
He added: "I am confident that lessons have been learnt and the Force now needs to move on but with clarity about the standards that must be upheld."
Alicia Moore of Hertfordshire Constabulary Black Police Association said: "The inquiry team has consulted closely with us since the beginning of this investigation and we feel that the disciplinary outcomes are appropriate."
Alan Kemp of Hertfordshire Police Federation said: "The investigation has been proportionate and a valuable learning opportunity - indeed many lessons from this exercise have already been implemented and officers and staff have been made more fully aware of their responsibilities when receiving emails that are not appropriate."
Steph Raddings of the police staff union UNISON said: "UNISON are satisfied that it has been dealt with in an open and appropriate manner. It has been an opportunity for us all to ensure that we use the Constabulary e-mail systems in a responsible manner that supports providing the best services for people in Hertfordshire."
The chair of the Hertfordshire Police County Independent Advisory Group, Omar Ismail, described the images as "distasteful and disturbing" but added: "The issue should not detract from the recent successes of work between the police and communities in Hertfordshire.