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Two Essex Police officers have been dismissed without notice following a fast-track misconduct hearing which found they had breached a number of the standards of professional behaviour.
The hearing took place on Tuesday November 24, at Chelmsford City Council offices and was chaired by Chief Constable BJ Harrington.
Sergeant Matthew Parker and PC Robert Fraser were found to have committed gross misconduct and breached the standards of professional behaviour relating to authority, respect and courtesy, equality and diversity, discreditable conduct and challenging and reporting improper behaviour.
The hearing heard how the officers, who both worked in Essex Police’s Resolution Centre at the force’s Chelmsford headquarters, were part of a WhatsApp group where discriminatory and derogatory images and memes were shared.
The group was discovered in May and the officers were suspended from their duties at Essex Police Headquarters in Chelmsford.
Chief Constable Harrington said: “I expect 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.
“The public rightly expects the highest standards of officers and staff who are entrusted to keep them safe. No member of the police service should discriminate against any part of society.
“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.”