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  1. 'Off duty with certain friends, PC's conduct fell way below expected standards'. Braintree police station: Where PC David Alston was based Date - 19th April 2019 By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle 4 Comments The company kept outside work by a “highly respected and capable” officer sacked for sending racist and homophobic messages to friends on WhatsApp fell well below the standards expected in policing circles, a force disciplinary panel heard. PC David Alston pinged offensive texts and video clips of extreme pornography to a WhatsApp group between March and June 2017. He also failed to challenge a racist comment made in a message sent to him and as a result breached the ‘discreditable conduct’ standards of professional behaviour, the two-day Essex Police hearing at Chelmsford Civic Centre concluded. The Essex officer was found guilty of gross misconduct and dismissed without notice. Detective Superintendent Dean Chapple, head of the force’s professional standards department, said: “Racism and homophobia is absolutely disgusting and has no place in our society, let alone within the police force. “PC Alston was a highly respected and capable officer however his conduct, while off duty and in the presence of selected friends who were not associated with policing, fell way below the standards we expect of our officers and in no way represents our values. “All police officers are responsible for their own actions and we cannot just turn off those standards and values in policing when it suits a given environment or group. “His actions, and the views he expressed, have no place in Essex Police. “They damage the relationships we have with minority communities and could discourage people from those communities from reporting crime to us or applying to work for us.” Det Supt Chapple pointed to staff support networks that help to improve the understanding of minority issues and “ensure they’re reflected through our work” as well as independent advisory groups providing advice, insight, and practical assistance around issues such as race, faith and issues affecting the LGBT community. Minority Ethnic Support Association chairman, PCSO Macdonald Neife, said: “We have worked closely with colleagues at all levels in Essex Police, including the chief constable, and have seen first-hand the positive direction it takes with diversity and inclusion. “We are not aware of any systemic racist or negative cultural behaviour, but would encourage any colleagues who are aware of unacceptable behaviour to report this through the channels available.” Essex-wide IAG chairman Neil Woodbridge added: “Obviously I was disappointed to hear about the alleged behaviour of the PC recently disciplined. “For me personally I have found that Essex Police consistently tries its hardest to show a keen understanding that they work for all the community of Essex. “So when someone chooses to act in a way that is apparently disrespectful of any members of that community, I feel saddened. “My experience of senior officers at present is that they are very aware that a level of professionalism is expected from their service at all times.” View On Police Oracle

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