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Police officer sacked for ‘offensive’ online posts about BLM protests

Written by on 29/09/2021

A police officer has been sacked after he was found to have made “offensive” comments about the Black Lives Matter protests, a watchdog has said.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) carried out an investigation on Northumbria Police officer Lee Scott last year.

He had been suspended while facing six allegations of gross misconduct over comments he posted on Facebook after the murder of George Floyd in the US last May.

A police disciplinary panel ruled last week that PC Scott be let go after they found the allegations to be true.

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IOPC regional director Miranda Biddle said: “There is no place in policing for officers who make offensive comments of any kind, whether on or off duty and whether in a public or private forum.

“We assessed the comments made on Facebook as a whole and concluded that Pc Scott had a case to answer for gross misconduct.

“The independent panel has agreed with our findings that Pc Scott’s comments showed a clear breach of the professional standards expected of a serving police officer while putting the integrity of Northumbria Police into question – in particular with the black, Asian and minority ethnic and LGBT communities.

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“His comments were also deemed to have a detrimental impact on the wider public confidence and perception of the force.”

The watchdog added PC Scott had shared an image of Mr Floyd that had been used by far-right groups.

He had also made comments about a chief constable taking the knee during a Black Lives Matter protest, as well as homophobic remarks relating to a senior police officer wearing an LGBT lanyard.

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During the investigation, the images and comments that were posted were examined, along with the local and national policies for officers to follow.

In December, the IOPC concluded that PC Scott should face gross misconduct proceedings.

Superintendent Steve Ammari said after the hearing that his actions were “completely unacceptable”.

He said: “We have always been clear that we expect the highest of standards to be maintained at all times and if anyone is found to have fallen below these we are committed to taking appropriate action.

“We are determined to ensure that the actions of an individual do not undermine the professionalism and commitment displayed every single day by our officers, staff and volunteers to the communities we are proud to serve.”

'I just hope that justice gets served,' says Philonise Floyd. Pic: AP
Image: George Floyd’s death sparked worldwide protests. Pic: AP

Northumbria Police has since issued a reminder to staff about the rules on social media use.

The IOPC employees have also been updated on their expected behaviour under the police Code of Ethics and the Equality Act.

 Sky News

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