Police officer who took selfie at murder scene and stored racist images sacked

·3-min read

A police officer who took a selfie at a murder scene and photographed vulnerable people while on duty has been formally dismissed.

The behaviour of Pc Ryan Connolly was described as “deplorable” by Merseyside Police after a gross misconduct hearing also found he had stored racist and homophobic images on his phone between 2015 and 2018.

The force confirmed he had taken images on his personal phone while on duty which were in breach of professional standards.

A spokesman said: “These images included a photo he had taken of himself while staffing the cordon at a murder scene.

“This particular photo was only of Connolly and did not include any details of the scene or of the victim.

“Following the advice from the legally qualified chair of the gross misconduct hearing, we are unable to disclose any further details of the images Connolly took on his phone while on duty and, as such, the family of the victim has not been informed.”

According to the written decision, which was published on the force website on Wednesday afternoon, the picture showed Connolly lying on the grass at the murder scene.

He was found to have pictures on his personal phone of men who were in hospital and detained under the Mental Health Act, of a missing child and of a fellow officer’s rear, as well details of a domestic violence victim.

Also on his phone were images which were racist, homophobic and mocked disabled people, the hearing was told.

Messages from his phone showed he socialised with a known criminal who had six convictions, including for fraud and drugs offences.

In its decision, the panel said: “Pc Connolly’s actions were deliberate and planned; they caused significant distress to members of the public; but more than that, these actions (particularly with regard to his racism and homophobia and improper association with a known criminal) clearly have caused, and would cause, members of the public to lose confidence in the police as a whole.”

His case comes after Metropolitan Police officers Pc Deniz Jaffer and Pc Jamie Lewis were jailed earlier this month after they took photos of murdered sisters Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman, 27, and shared them on WhatsApp.

Merseyside Deputy Chief Constable Ian Critchley confirmed Connolly had been formally dismissed from his post following a four-day hearing earlier this year.

He said: “I am appalled by Connolly’s actions, they are beyond comprehension and are not in keeping with the high standards and values that we expect here at Merseyside Police.

“Our officers carry out exceptionally brave, selfless acts every single day, protecting the most vulnerable people in our communities, yet here we see the despicable acts of a very selfish individual who has no place in our police service.

“An investigation by our Anti-Corruption Unit uncovered the fact that Connolly had been using his own phone to take photographs of vulnerable people whilst on duty and that the phone also contained appalling homophobic, racist and offensive images.

“It also revealed that Connolly was an associate of a known criminal and had not declared this association.

“His actions are an insult to the uniform and the police service, which consistently strives to protect our communities and provide a professional and inclusive service to the people of Merseyside.

“The behaviour of this officer is deplorable and serves to undermine the public’s confidence and trust in the police.

“We are quite clear, if any officer is found to be behaving in a way that does not meet our high standards we will take swift and robust action.”

Connolly was convicted of three offences of possession of extreme pornographic material in November and is due to be sentenced on January 10, a force spokesman said.

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