Essex Police: 'Derogatory' WhatsApp group officers sacked

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image captionBoth officers worked at Essex Police headquarters

Two police officers have been dismissed for their part in a WhatsApp group where "discriminatory and derogatory" images and memes were shared.

Sgt Matthew Parker and PC Robert Fraser, of Essex Police, sent messages to the group and were suspended after it was discovered in May.

Both officers were found to have committed gross misconduct at a hearing on Tuesday.

The force has not disclosed the nature of the messages.

But the chief constable said: "No member of the police service should discriminate against any part of society."

'Breached standards'

Both officers had worked in the resolution centre at the force's Chelmsford headquarters, police said.

They were dismissed after a "fast-track" misconduct hearing found "they had breached a number of the standards of professional behaviour".

Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington, who was the hearing's chair, said he expected "the utmost professionalism from all officers and staff at Essex Police and that extends to their conduct on messaging and social media platforms, whether on or off duty".

He said: "The behaviour shown by these officers undermines the hard-earned trust of the communities of Essex.

"It fell far short of my expectations and is out of step with the high standards of diversity, equality and inclusion, all of which are at the heart of what Essex Police stands for.

"It damages the reputation of the majority of those working within Essex Police who value difference in all people and provide a high-quality service to the people of Essex."

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