Police officer sacked over 'racist' WhatsApp messages about travellers following a funeral in Bedford

PC Jeffrey Cresswell posted the comments on a private WhatsApp group

Friday, 22nd April 2022, 6:19 pm
Updated Monday, 25th April 2022, 2:06 pm
Bedfordshire Police HQ

A police officer has been dismissed without notice after he used offensive terms about travellers on a private WhatsApp group, a hearing has ruled.

An Accelerated Misconduct Hearing in front of Chief Constable Garry Forsyth yesterday (Thursday, April 21) heard PC Jeffrey Cresswell, who tendered his resignation as a Police Constable earlier this month and is currently working a period of paid notice, had used his personal phone to post the comments to the group in November last year following a funeral in Bedford.

Mr Forsyth heard the group was formed between other officers and PCSOs to keep in touch outside of work. No members of the public had access to the group.

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PC Cresswell was on a rest day at the time and posted comments which were alleged to be offensive and racist in nature. He was immediately challenged by colleagues and the content of the chat was reported to supervisors the following day, which led to a Professional Standards Department investigation.

PC Cresswell made full admissions and 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.

The Chief Constable said: “PC Cresswell’s choice of language was abhorrent and completely unacceptable. 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.

"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.”