Officers from West Mercia Police charged with hate crime after allegedly sharing racist images

Officers from West Mercia Police have been charged with hate crime

A former and a serving police officer from West Mercia Police have both been charged with hate crime offences after an inquiry into racially offensive images shared on WhatsApp.

James Watts, 31, and PC Joann Jinks, 40, have been charged with sending grossly offensive messages.

Watts has been charged with 10 counts of sending grossly offensive messages, while Jinks faces three allegations.

The police watchdog said: “Our investigation began in June 2020 following a referral from West Mercia Police after intelligence was received by the force.

“At its conclusion in April 2021, we sent our investigation report to the Crown Prosecution Service which has since authorised the charges.”

Sean Kyne a Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS West Midlands, said: "The Crown Prosecution Service has authorised police to charge James Watts and Joann Jinks with charges of sending grossly offensive messages via a public communications network contrary to Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003."The charges, which relate to the sharing of racist images in May and June 2020, were authorised following a review of evidence received from the IOPC."Both defendants were serving West Mercia Police officers at the time of the alleged offences.""Criminal proceedings against James Watts and Joann Jinks are now active, and both defendants have a right to a fair trial.

"Please be reminded that there should be no reporting, commentary or online information sharing that could prejudice these proceedings."

Both defendants will appear at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on May 13.