Charges dropped against police officers over ‘joke meme’ seen as indecent image

Charges have been dropped against two police officers over the sending of a suspected indecent image of a child.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has discontinued its case against Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officers James Williams and Cameron Barker.

Both were due to go on trial at Leeds Magistrates’ Court earlier this week after previously denying wrongdoing.

At their plea hearing in July, the court was told the officers did not believe the image was indecent and said it was a meme sent by Pc Williams to his colleague’s mobile phone as a joke.

Pc Williams, 40, of Tyldesley, Wigan, pleaded not guilty to distributing a category C image of a child in March 2019.

Pc Barker, 27, of Droylsden, Tameside, had denied possessing a category C image.

A CPS spokeswoman said: “The Crown Prosecution Service has a duty to keep all cases under constant review.

“Upon further consideration of the evidence in this case, we concluded our legal test was not met and the case was stopped.”

The case was discontinued in September.

The officers were suspended by GMP pending the outcome of criminal proceedings and any subsequent misconduct hearing.

A GMP spokeswoman said an investigation by its Professional Standards Branch is ongoing.