Police officer sacked over inappropriate WhatsApp messages

General police officer image
General police officer image
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A Thames Valley Police officer has been sacked after sending a series of derogatory WhatsApp messages about a male detainee to a friend.

PC Matthew Watt was found to have breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour as set out in Regulation 3 and the Schedule to the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2012 following a public misconduct hearing.

The breaches were in respect of Discreditable Conduct, Authority, Respect and Courtesy and Confidentiality, namely that on March 5 this year PC Watt sent a series of WhatsApp messages to a friend referring to a detainee in derogatory terms,

The officer also sent a WhatsApp message to a friend attaching a photograph of a male detainee, a WhatsApp message to a friend attaching a photograph of a witness statement. The name of the witness and part of the statement could be read in an enlarged copy of the photograph.

PC Watt sent a WhatsApp message to a group of friends attaching a photograph of a witness statement. The name of the witness and part of the statement can be read in an enlarged copy of the photograph.

The special case hearing for PC Watt was chaired by Chief Constable Francis Habgood at Thames Valley Police Headquarters in Kidlington.

Det Ch Insp Matt Stone, of Thames Valley Police’s Professional Standards Department, said PC Watt ‘fell well below’ the standards expected.

“PC Watt sent confidential data to members of the public in which he referred to a detainee using a disparaging term,” he said.

“For the public to have confidence in the Force it is vital that our staff and officers manage information in accordance with legislation and policies. Our investigation has shown that, in this instance, this has not happened and the behaviour shown by PC Watt fell well below the standard expected of a police officer.

“Thames Valley Police takes such breaches extremely seriously and investigates incidents of gross misconduct thoroughly, with the outcome being that PC Watt has been dismissed without notice from the Force.”