Nottinghamshire PC Avoids Sack Over Derogatory Messages

8 January 2016, 13:07 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

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A Nottinghamshire police officer has avoided the sack for sending a string of racist and homophobic text messages about suspects and victims.

Pc Andrew Tideswell of Nottinghamshire Police was facing 15 charges of gross misconduct after officers found messages containing ``abusive language'' sent over a two-year period.

A misconduct panel heard messages were found on his phone calling a murder victim a ``paedo gay boy'', someone who had been arrested over a domestic incident ``a seven-stone wet through muppet with autism'' and the victim of grooming as ``a bit of a slut''.

Ten of the 15 allegations of misconduct were proven and a misconduct panel gave him a final written warning.

The panel at Nottinghamshire Police headquarters heard Tideswell sent the majority of the messages to former partner Pc Samantha Goodwin.

She was dismissed from the force in October for gross misconduct in relation to a number of inappropriate text messages sent over a three-year period, including informing a friend about the death of missing schoolgirl Amber Peat before the information had been made public.

Tideswell, who started with Nottinghamshire Police in 2001 and was based in Mansfield, accepted that he sent the messages using the offensive terms about victims of domestic violence, grooming and historic sex abuse among others, but denied they amounted to gross misconduct.

He said: ``I would never have expected the public to see them. These were private messages hermetically sealed within my phone and within my relationship.

``It's quite evident in my life that I don't make these kind of comments.

``I have no desire to upset these people and I have no desire to disrespect these people.''

He added he did not bring the views expressed in the messages into the workplace.

The majority of the messages were taken from Goodwin's phone as part of an investigation into alleged perjury.

Tideswell added that facing misconduct proceedings after the police found the messages was a ``big injustice'' and compared it to ``thought policing''.

His representative Ben Summers told the panel the messages were ``isolated''.

He said: ``It was not an endless diatribe, not day after day after day.

``He has a long and good service marred by the comments made in this particular context.''

Assistant Chief Constable Simon Torr said Tideswell had shown a ``arrogant, dismissive and disdainful attitude'' and that his ``apologies seem to be less than fulsome''.

He added: ``The officer's lack of contrition in interview is troubling.

``The lack of respect demonstrated towards the victims of sexual offences is particularly concerning to the panel.''

Giving him a final written warning for 18 months, Mr Torr added: ``The comments in this case were absolutely unacceptable. It was so finely balanced that the good and potential for future good outweighs the bad.

``We are therefore prepared to give Pc Tideswell the opportunity to demonstrate that he can serve the public.''