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'Abhorrent' Police officer dismissed for sending 'racist' WhatsApp texts about Travellers

PC Jeffrey Cresswell reportedly wrote and sent comments from his personal phone into a private WhatsApp group with his colleagues following a traveller funeral in Bedford in November 2021.

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(Nick Ansell/PA)

(Nick Ansell/PA)

(Nick Ansell/PA)

A police officer in England has been dismissed without notice after sending “grossly offensive” racist messages about travellers in a WhatsApp group.

PC Jeffrey Cresswell reportedly wrote and sent comments from his personal phone into a private WhatsApp group with his colleagues following a Traveller funeral in Bedford in November 2021.

The WhatsApp group was formed between other officers and police community support officers to keep in touch outside of work, Chief Constable Garry Forsyth heard at an Accelerated Misconduct Hearing on Thursday.

PC Cresswell was not at work at the time when he shared the comments, which were allegedly offensive and racist in nature.

It is reported that PC Cresswell was immediately challenged by colleagues, who reported the contents of the WhatsApp chat to supervisors the following day.

A Professional Standards Department investigation was subsequently launched and PC Cresswell made was found to have breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour for authority, respect and courtesy, equality and diversity, and discreditable conduct.

Mr Forsyth ruled that PC Cresswell would be dismissed without notice.

Bedfordshire Police has since confirmed that PC Cresswell resigned as a police constable earlier this month and is currently working through a period of paid notice.

“PC Cresswell's choice of language was abhorrent and completely unacceptable,” Mr Forsyth said.

“We are here to police all our communities impartially, there is no place in Bedfordshire, or policing, for individuals that participate in offensive, racist and discriminatory behaviour.

“Across the force we are working extremely hard to improve our collective understanding of different cultures and we encourage our people to call out unacceptable behaviour – so it's reassuring his colleagues immediately challenged him and reported the matter to supervisors.

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“The courage and standards of these officers can only serve to reinforce the scale of departure from the standards of professional behaviour by PC Cresswell and the grossly offensive nature of his posts.”

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