Police officer allegedly shared pictures of dead man on WhatsApp

The officer has been charged with three counts of misconduct in a public office after allegedly sharing images and videos with family and friends on WhatsApp. Credit: PA

A former police officer is due in court after allegedly sharing images of a dead man with family and friends on WhatsApp.

Lewis Wood, from Bridgwater, has been charged with three counts of misconduct in a public office.

The 42-year-old is alleged to have wilfully shared police material between December 2018 and August 2020 while based in Somerset working for Avon and Somerset Police.

He is due to appear before Bristol Magistrates' Court on Tuesday 24 October.

The force's Assistant Chief Constable Joanne Hall said: “We’d like to reassure the public that since these allegations came to light, we have conducted a thorough investigation, culminating in a case file being presented to the CPS and these serious charges being brought.

“A referral was made to the Independent Office for Police Conduct at the outset, who adjudged it was suitable for local investigation by our Counter Corruption Unit.

“The charges relate to the alleged distribution of images and videos on WhatsApp to family and friends by a now-former officer while he served for Avon and Somerset Police. They encompass several incidents or investigations and one of the charges relates to the alleged sharing of images of a deceased male.

“We are ensuring all those affected by these allegations are updated and we’ll be supporting them as we recognise the news is likely to cause an immense amount of hurt and pain.

“It is important every defendant is given the right to a fair trial and therefore we’d urge all members of the public to avoid the publication of any material or commentary that could prejudice the forthcoming legal proceedings.”

A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset Police confirmed Wood stopped working for the force in 2021 and is not currently employed by any police force.