A police officer has managed to hold onto his job despite sending a homophobic text message about a murder victim.
Nottinghamshire Police officer PC Andrew Tideswell, 38, referred to the victim as a "paedo gay boy" in a private text message, according to reports.
He also reportedly called a suspect "a muppet with autism", a groom victim "a bit of a slut" and and a man who attempted suicide "a numpty", the BBC reports.
On Thursday, the force found he breached professional standards and gave him a final written warning, stopping just short of dismissing him. The force said he would get "the opportunity to demonstrate that he can serve the public".
The texts were sent to his partner over two years, from 2013 to 2015. The misconduct panel described them as "extremely distasteful, grossly disrespectful, and absolutely unacceptable".
"I would never have expected the public to see them," PC Tideswell said during his hearing, according to local paper The Nottingham Evening Post.
"These are private messages. There is no suggestion that the public would've seen them and they would not have if it had not been for this investigation.
"These were private messages hermetically sealed within my phone and within my relationship. It's quite evident in my life that I don't make these kind of comments."
He faced a total of 15 counts of misconduct, the police force said. These were:
- Derogatory personal remarks about a victim of domestic violence and inappropriate remarks regarding a police investigation and an agency involved in the charging process.
- Derogatory and sexually inappropriate remarks about a young victim of a sexual offence and failure to challenge and/or report inappropriate conduct by a police officer.
- An inappropriate and homophobic remark about a murder victim.
- Derogatory remarks about a woman detained by police with whom he had professional dealings.
- Messages sent to a fellow officer in which he used an offensive racist term for a member of the Traveller community.
- An inappropriate and homophobic remark about a victim of historic sexual abuse and failure to challenge/report a fellow officer who sent the picture.
- Use of a derogatory and sexually inappropriate term about an individual concerned in a police investigation.
- Insulting and homophobic remarks about a person you had dealt with as a Police Officer.
- An inappropriate message to a fellow officer in the course of which you used derogatory and racist terminology.
- Use of seriously inappropriate language to describe an allegation of sexual offences against a minor.
Another further allegation about remarks and messages sent were not proven, the panel.
The panel said : “Members of the public have a right to expect police officers to respect them, whether to their face or behind their back, and the comments made in this case are extremely distasteful, grossly disrespectful, and absolutely unacceptable," a statement from Nottinghamshire Police force read.
“They were private but if they were made in public, or in any other arena, whether social media, said in a police station or vehicle, there is no doubt dismissal would have followed.
“The panel do accept that there is unlikely to be a repetition of this behaviour by the officer and that his intent was not to cause harm.
“Based on this fine balance of arguments we concluded that the good and potential for future good, just, by the most slender of margins, outweighs the bad."
The final written warning is the most serious outcome besides dismissal.