A Devon and Cornwall Police sergeant is being investigated for allegedly distributing an inappropriate image of George Floyd in a WhatsApp group.

The image is alleged to have been shared five days after the death of Mr Floyd in the US after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

A white fellow police officer from Devon and Cornwall Police is understood to have made the complaint within 48 hours of the image being sent.

The sergeant is being investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for gross misconduct and Devon and Cornwall has confirmed he has been suspended.

Anti-racism demonstrations have taken place around the world since George Floyd's death. Credit: PA

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Some other members of the group are being investigated for their alleged response to the image or apparent failure to report the matter.

The force says it will Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

Assistant Chief Constable Jim Nye says Devon & Cornwall Police "expects the highest standards of behaviour from all its staff when on and off duty at all times".

“This matter was quickly brought to light internally by a member of staff and reported to a Devon & Cornwall Police manager. A proactive referral was then made to the IOPC at the earliest opportunity.

“The IOPC has confirmed they will be treating this as an independent investigation and the Force will co-operate fully with the investigation. As an interim measure Devon & Cornwall Police has chosen to suspend a police sergeant involved in the investigation.

“Devon & Cornwall Police wholly appreciate the concern our communities will have regarding an investigation of this kind.

I would reassure them that I, and the chief constable, will do everything possible to ensure the matter is dealt with effectively and in a timely manner.

ACC Jim Nye

“It would be inappropriate to make any judgement or further comment at this stage, but is only right that we show openness and transparency with our communities on this matter, so will continue to work closely with the IOPC during the coming days and weeks.”