Devon police officer sacked for racist remark and given lifetime ban

PC Helen Taylor used racists, offensive and discriminatory language at Charles Cross Police Station, in Plymouth
PC Helen Taylor used racists, offensive and discriminatory language at Charles Cross Police Station, in Plymouth -Credit:Google Maps/Juraj Prascak

A Devon and Cornwall Police officer has been sacked for gross misconduct after making a racist comment towards a fellow officer. PC Helen Taylor was in the presence of a number of colleagues at Charles Cross Police Station, in Plymouth, when she used racist, offensive and discriminatory language about a Black police officer.

The incident happened on May 4, 2023, when Taylor was on duty in the response office with three other colleagues. Two fellow police officers then came into the office to use the printer.

When they left the office, Taylor referred to a comment one of them is said to have made fifteen years previously. The misconduct report into Taylor's behaviour states that she said : “If I called him what he was then I would lose my job."

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On being asked by another officer entering the office what she meant by that, Taylor was reported to have said: “A black bastard."

The officer entering the room and the other officers present were shocked by the comment and agreed it needed reporting. Taylor admitted during the disciplinary hearing that she had used racist language and the panel found that, on the balance of probabilities, the allegation was proven.

Taylor was therefore dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct following the public disciplinary hearing in Exeter which concluded on April 30, 2024. The full outcome notice available to read here.

The disciplinary panel, led by independent legally qualified chair Ms Nicola Haywood, found that the officer’s behaviour had fallen below the expected standards of professional behaviour in respect of equality and diversity; authority, respect and courtesy; and discreditable conduct.

It was determined that the officer would be dismissed without notice. The officer’s details will be submitted to the College of Policing Barred List, preventing them from working within policing.

The panel concluded that the decision was reached in large part because of the critical need to uphold public confidence in Devon and Cornwall Police. Dismissal was found to be required to underline that such language and behaviour will not be tolerated.

They found that it was also necessary to maintain public confidence in the fact that principles of equality and diversity will be fostered and protected by Devon and Cornwall Police. Both officers and the wider public should be aware of the firm and unwavering commitment of the force to deal with such behaviour.

Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Dave Thorne said: “Racist, discriminatory language or behaviour of any kind is unacceptable and goes against our values. We continue to offer full support to the officer who was subject to these unacceptable and offensive comments.

"Devon and Cornwall Police is committed to being an open and inclusive organisation with equality and diversity key to maintaining the confidence of our communities. We expect all our officers and staff to adhere to the highest standards of behaviour, both on and off duty."

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