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25th Jun, 2022

Former West Mercia officer jailed for 20 weeks for sending racist George Floyd memes

Rob George 14th Jun, 2022

A FORMER West Mercia Police officer has been jailed for 20 weeks after he admitted sending racist messages on WhatsApp following the death of George Floyd.

James Watts, 32, of Castle Bromwich was sentenced today (Tuesday) after entering a guilty plea at an earlier hearing where he admitted 10 counts of the offence.

He admitted to sending racially discriminatory messages on his personal phone, including images, in May and June of 2020. Four memes sent by Watts referred to George Floyd and the protests that were taking place in the States at the time.

After the messages came to light in June 2020 the force referred the case to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

At the time of the offences he was a probationary police constable with the force, based in Redditch.

Watts resigned from the force whilst the investigation was ongoing. An Accelerated Misconduct Hearing was held where it was found that he would have been dismissed, had he not already resigned.

His name has also been added to the College of Policing’s barred list, banning him from any policing role across the country for life.

Speaking after the hearing Deputy Chief Constable Julian Moss said: “I welcome the sentencing today and the custodial sentence, which shows the gravity of the offence.

“This case shows we are committed to rooting out any racist behaviour within the force, whether it takes place on or off duty. There is absolutely no place for these attitudes or this behaviour within West Mercia Police.

“James Watts let down the communities he served and his colleagues by his grossly offensive behaviour. The force will not tolerate it, our officers will not tolerate it, I will not tolerate it.”

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