Three police officers suspended over misogyny, racism and homophobia claims

Gwent police

2022-11-25 01:41:00

Three police officers have been suspended over allegations of sharing misogynistic, racist and homophobic messages.

Gwent Police said the trio had been suspended after the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) began an investigation.

The watchdog said the serving officers were under investigation for misconduct over claims of sharing offensive messages.

The inquiry was launched following a Sunday Times investigation into a phone owned by ex-sergeant Ricky Jones.

The handset was allegedly found to contain offensive message exchanges between him and former colleagues.

Racist images, pornographic videos and sensitive information about misconduct and corruption investigations were among the material exchanged, said the newspaper.

The IOPC said it had requested further information from Gwent Police in relation to the alleged involvement of former officers in the sharing of messages who could be included in the operation.

A separate investigation into complaints from Jones’ family related to Gwent Police’s handling of its investigation into his death and officers’ contact with his relatives will continue to be managed by Wiltshire Police.

The family have called for the creation of a new organisation to help those facing domestic abuse at the hands of serving officers.

Ricky Jones served as a Gwent Police officer for 26 years
Ricky Jones served as a Gwent Police officer for 26 years

Jones’ widow and daughter have said they suffered years of coercive control by him but felt unable to report it to police because of his links to the force.

Speaking to Sky News, his widow Sharon and daughter Emma, whose names have been changed, said more needs to be done to help those who feel unable to report domestic abuse.

“I was trapped,” said Sharon.

“Wherever and whenever I went to any organisation, they would just always refer me back to the police.”

Catrin Evans, IOPC director for Wales, said: “I recognise that many people will find the messages aired in the public domain, apparently shared among police officers, highly disturbing.

“After publication of the national newspaper article, we formally wrote to the Chief Constable of Gwent Police requesting they provide us with information to establish the chain of events and decisions taken in relation to the family’s complaints, and any conduct matters. We had not previously received a referral from the force on any of these matters.

“On the basis of our assessment of the conduct referrals received so far, we have decided that an independent investigation is essential to maintain public confidence.

“We will be investigating the alleged involvement of a number of serving Gwent Police officers in sharing offensive messages.

“We will keep the involvement of any further serving and former officers under review as more information comes to light.

“We will need to progress a full download of data from the phone of Mr Ricky Jones. I would ask for patience while we undertake our enquiries as swiftly and thoroughly as possible.”

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