Racist Avon and Somerset Police officer banned from serving any force again

A generic image of a police officer Credit: BPM Media

An Avon and Somerset Police officer has been barred from policing for making “abhorrent” racist comments, including that George Floyd deserved to die while being arrested in the US.

PC Daniel Wheller committed gross misconduct and would have been sacked without notice had he not already resigned, a misconduct panel ruled on Wednesday 23 August.

He told a woman that it was about time black people got over slavery because “it happened ages ago” and said they all looked the same and were “related to each other”.

The officer was based in Chard, then Bridgwater, and was a trainee constable following 16 years as a police community support officer.

He also cheated in his coursework for his police degree apprenticeship at the University of the West of England at Frenchay, the panel found.

Avon and Somerset Police’s head of professional standards department Superintendent Mark Edgington said after the three-day hearing: “The racist attitude and language the former officer used – both in relation to his police duties and while off-duty – is wholly unacceptable.

“There has been a lot of commentary in recent months about institutional racism in policing, and cases like this highlight why we should never shy away from tackling this issue head on.

“It is not acceptable to ignore, disregard, or consider such comments to be light-hearted or flippant, there simply is no place in policing for people who harbour abhorrent racist views.

“This former PC’s conduct fell well below the standards we expect of all our officers and staff and he has let down not only the public but his colleagues with his comments, who will rightly be shocked and appalled.

“He resigned prior to this week’s hearing and will now be placed on a national barred list preventing him from seeking other employment within the police service and other law enforcement agencies.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to the person who trusted us to do the right thing and raised this with us anonymously and hope the public take confidence with the way this former officer has been robustly dealt with.”

PC Wheller did not attend the tribunal, which was led by a legally qualified chair independent of policing.

Credit: Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service