Police face sack for jibe over 'pondlife'
Police face sack for jibe over 'pondlife'
A DETECTIVE is facing disciplinary action by his force for referring to a career criminal as “pondlife” in a private conversation with another officer.
The detective constable, who faces possible dismissal from his job, has been told that the criminal “might have been offended” had he heard the remark, although he was not present at the time.
The officer was informed that he will be subject to disciplinary action together with three colleagues — a detective sergeant, a uniformed sergeant and a constable — after covert video recordings were made of them at their police station in Nottingham. The other officers are accused of also using “inappropriate language” in private conversations.
All four have been taken off frontline duties that might bring them into contact with members of the public while they await formal decisions as to their futures.
The covert taping was being carried out by Nottinghamshire police to investigate alleged corruption by another member of staff. The officers facing disciplinary action are not suspected of any criminal activity and the fact that their comments were recorded was a coincidence.
However, the force’s professional standards department decided last year to place all four officers on so-called “regulation nine” notices signalling disciplinary action even though no complaints had been received from other staff or members of the public.
After the corruption inquiry has been concluded, the deputy chief constable, Howard Roberts, will review the allegations and decide whether to carry out a full inquiry which could result in the officers’ dismissal.
Critics have called the affair “ludicrous”.
Mick Taylor, chairman of the Nottinghamshire branch of the Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, said: “There has been an accusation that some words have been said that may have caused offence to a career criminal if he had been present, even though he wasn’t.
“This is a man of the criminal fraternity who has a number of convictions. So it does seem ludicrous that we have to go to these levels, but that is the way life is now.
“This was a private conversation between colleagues and surely people have got a right to that? A personal view is that if no members of the public or work colleagues have made complaints, then I question the need for disciplinary action.”
The officer accused of corruption offences, PC Charles Fletcher, who faces a charge of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office and two counts of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, is due to be tried later this year.
Taylor said: “Now the officers on the disciplinary notices will have to wait until after the corruption inquiry is finished and all trials conducted before the video-taped evidence can be examined and that may take a long time.
“Some of these officers have got 20 or more years of service and commendations to their name and they don’t deserve to have this hanging over them for so long.”
A source close to the four officers said: “It is difficult enough for officers to carry out their frontline duties without having to battle political correctness as well.”
A Nottinghamshire police spokesman said: “We can confirm that four members of staff have been served with regulation nine notices, which informs (them) they are being investigated on internal professional misconduct matters.”
It Ain't Just the British "Knuckling" Under!!!
You don't have to look all the way across the pond... This was kind of a stupid thing for a Assistant Chief Deputy to say in a briefing room with Dallas' new gay female minority sheriff about people in pain (especially knowing that all the politicians and activists would be ready to lynch him for saying it), but I'm sure he had a few specific people in mind and was about to pull his hair out when he called hurricane evacuees "knuckle draggers" and "knee walkers". OOPS. :rolleyes:
It makes me mad that the Sheriff didn't just tell everyone to "get over it and quit whining" about something so stupid. By most accounts the guy did a good job considering the short notice, difficult circumstances and resources he was given. Oh well, at least the new Sheriff seems to have accepted his appology, but now he's gonna be treated like a biggot for the rest of his days in Dallas by all the activists, I'm sure, just because of a moment of frustration, stress, and overwork. :mad:
Sheriff gets pressure to fire deputy
Dallas County: Suspension for slur isn't enough, commissioners say
07:18 AM CST on Wednesday, November 16, 2005
By JAMES M. O'NEILL / The Dallas Morning News
Dallas County commissioners and a local civil rights leader said Tuesday that the 20-day suspension Sheriff Lupe Valdez imposed on a top deputy for using a racial slur was insufficient, and they called for the man's removal.
Sheriff Valdez said she will work with the community and the top aide involved to smooth things over. But she said she was open to more drastic options if the community does not think the situation will improve.
Sheriff Valdez last week announced she had suspended Assistant Chief Deputy Greg Leveling for 20 days and ordered him to attend diversity training after he referred to hurricane evacuees as "knuckle draggers" in a staff meeting.
County Commissioner John Wiley Price, the lone minority member of the Commissioners Court and, like the sheriff, a Democrat, said he talked with her about the incident and his contention that her punishment was not severe enough.
"I'm not retreating on this. He needs to be gone," Mr. Price said. "This is certainly something that shouldn't be tolerated. It sends the wrong message."
Commissioner Maurine Dickey agreed. "There's no place for people with that kind of attitude in any level of government," she said. Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield said his first reaction was that he "probably would have fired the individual and not suspended him."
County Judge Margaret Keliher also said the punishment was insufficient. "I don't know that taking one course [on diversity] is adequate to fix an issue as serious as this," she said after Tuesday's Commissioners Court meeting.
Commissioner Mike Cantrell said "a person in that position should be held to a higher standard."
The Rev. Peter Johnson, an organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1969 and a vocal critic of racial bias, punctuated his report to the commissioners on a gun buyback program he organized in cooperation with the Sheriff's Department by expressing his dismay at Deputy Leveling's comments. He asked the commissioners to ensure that he be fired.
"I'm deeply disappointed that someone in the Sheriff's Department with that kind of authority" would use such a term, Mr. Johnson said. He called the attitude that would cause someone to use the term "not a problem of diversity. It's a problem of the heart."
After Mr. Johnson's comments, Sheriff Valdez talked with him for 15 to 20 minutes in the lobby as the meeting continued inside.
Deputy Leveling is a top assistant and is not subject to civil service rules, so he serves at the sheriff's pleasure. As a result, she could review her suspension and decide to take more stringent measures. For now, she said, she wants to try to work with the community and Deputy Leveling on making amends.
"If the community feels he's not responding, we'll need to do something else," she said. "I think we'll be able to work together. It will take the chief, me and the community to come up with a final solution for this. It will take all of us to make it right."
She said that Deputy Leveling had performed well prior to making the comments. He supervises the housing of more than 8,000 inmates at several facilities, including the Decker Detention Center. Decker has been used in recent weeks to house hurricane evacuees, and some have complained publicly about conditions there.
During an Oct. 18 meeting with subordinates, Deputy Leveling's frustration with the complaints boiled over, and he used the terms "knuckle draggers" and "knee walkers" when referring to the evacuees. He was Sheriff Valdez's first top administrative hire after she took office in January.
"He apologized profusely to me and everyone in the room," Sheriff Valdez said. "I know he feels badly about it. He embarrassed himself and the Sheriff's Department."