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Dorset PoliceTwo serving Dorset Police officers and a former officer who shared racist, sexist, homophobic or inappropriate messages on a WhatsApp group, bullied colleagues and behaved in a derogatory manner have been found guilty of gross misconduct.

Following a public misconduct hearing at Dorset Police Headquarters in Winfrith, which concluded on Friday 2 June 2023, the panel found that PC Mark Jordan-Gill, Inspector Nicholas Mantle and former officer Paul Perdrisat had breached the standards of professional behaviour and were guilty of gross misconduct.

The panel also found that serving officers PC Michael Lowther and PC Matthew Young, who had admitted misconduct, had also breached the standards of professional behaviour, but that their conduct amounted to misconduct. PC Lowther was handed a written warning and PC Young was issued with a final written warning.

The remaining officers will return on a future date for the panel to determine the sanctions they will receive, with breaches being so serious that dismissal is to be a consideration.

The allegations involved varying levels of breaches that centred on sending and/or receiving inappropriate WhatsApp messages, making or failing to challenge discriminatory comments, displaying or failing to challenge others who displayed inappropriate homemade ‘wall art’ and bullying or failing to challenge others who were bullying colleagues.

The hearing heard that allegations were received by the Force’s Professional Standards Department in July and August 2022 about alleged incidents of bullying and discriminatory conduct by the officers, who were serving at the time with the Force Support Group (FSG) in Bournemouth.

A proactive referral was made to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) at the earliest opportunity, and it was referred back to the Force for local investigation.

During the investigation a significant number of messages were found on a WhatsApp group that was used by the officers to discuss work and private matters on their personal mobile phones. A large number of the messages sent between 14 June and 22 October 2020 contained racist, sexist, misogynistic, and homophobic language and images.

The hearing also heard that two of the officers, PC Mark Jordan-Gill and former officer Paul Perdrisat, had previously been involved in making and receiving a ‘secret Santa’ calendar, which was said to contain racist, homophobic, sexist and derogatory images and wording.

Following the hearing Deputy Chief Constable Sam de Reya, Dorset Police’s lead for professional standards, said: ‘Any behaviour demonstrating traits of prejudice/negative bias against a person will not be tolerated in our organisation and, as this case has demonstrated, we will swiftly and robustly investigate any offences reported to us.

‘Following a detailed investigation by our Professional Standards Department, this matter was referred to the independently chaired panel, which made the decision three of the individuals were guilty of gross misconduct and two were found for misconduct. We respect the decision of the panel and await the remaining sanctions.

‘The public quite rightly expect the highest standards of behaviour from serving police officers and staff as this is a core component of maintaining the trust of our communities. I am sorry that the behaviour of these officers let you down.

“We are committed to investigating any unethical or unacceptable behaviour relating to a member of our organisation and I would encourage you to report them to the Force so they can be thoroughly investigated.’

Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, David Sidwick said: ‘I welcome the panel’s decision. The sanctions that have been placed on the officers that have been found guilty of misconduct are appropriate in light of the evidence that was put before the panel.’

Anyone can report any concerns to Dorset Police by calling 101 or emailing complaints-misconduct@dorset.pnn.police.uk. Alternatively members of the public can contact the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) – details of which can be found via their website www.policeconduct.gov.uk or anonymously via the Crimestoppers charity online at Crimestoppers-uk.org or freephone 0800 555 111.

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