Two Gwent police officers to face gross misconduct hearings over inappropriate messages

Watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said hearings will take place later this year for the constables Credit: ITV Wales

Two serving police officers from Gwent Police will face gross misconduct hearings for sharing offensive WhatsApp messages, according to the police watchdog.

In 2023, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) began investigating several former and serving officers at the force after "derogatory and inappropriate messages" were found on a deceased officer's phone.

Ricky Jones' family found the messages sent to a WhatsApp group on his phone after he died and handed them to the force.

Gwent Police Chief, Pam Kelly, said, "We have been abundantly clear that we will not tolerate poor behaviour and this case should act as a stark warning".

Two serving constables and a former constable will now have to answer for gross misconduct, for exchanging racist, misogynistic and homophobic messages. They will face the hearings later this year.

The IOPC director, David Ford said, “The content of some of the messages we examined raised serious concerns about the conduct of those police officers involved.

“We did not find any evidence to substantiate an allegation that Gwent Police tried to cover up inappropriate messages, which might have indicated corruption. The evidence showed that the searches police carried out on Ricky Jones’ phone were reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances at the time.

"We have shared our decisions with Ricky Jones’ family", he added.

The watchdog says that three other former officers who were being investigated will not face any further action. Another three officers cannot be subject to misconduct procedures because they have retired from the force.

Chief Constable Pam Kelly says the force will 'we will not tolerate poor behaviour' Credit: Gwent Police

Chief Constable Pam Kelly said, “When this matter was first reported to us in November 2022, I was shocked at the content of the WhatsApp messages and determined to ensure that this behaviour was dealt with robustly."

She added, “Our communities and our staff deserve the highest of standards from our officers, and we continue to work hard to deal with those who do not meet our high expectations.  

“The majority of officers serve our communities with pride, professionalism and integrity. It is what the public expect and what they deserve.

“We have been abundantly clear that we will not tolerate poor behaviour and this case should act as a stark warning of the consequences of inappropriate online behaviour.”

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