Statement following High Court ruling regarding discharge of probationary officer – High Wycombe
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A judge at the High Court of Justice has ruled in favour of Thames Valley Police in relation to a probationary officer who was discharged from the force after he made a racist ‘joke’ in the presence of other officers.
Former probationary officer PC Nicholas Barnes who was based at High Wycombe police station, was discharged using Regulation 13 in June 2021.
In June 2020, the officer made a racist ‘joke’ in the presence of other officers.
This was rightly reported by the other officers, and an investigation was then conducted by our Professional Standards Department. A gross misconduct hearing was chaired by an independent legally qualified chair and the former officer was given a final written warning.
However, the force then discharged the officer using Regulation 13.
Regulation 13 of the Police Regulations 2003, can be used by the Chief Constable to discharge a probationary officer if it is considered they are not likely to meet the standards expected of an officer.
The former officer challenged the use of Regulation 13, and judgment was given at the High Court on Friday (3/11).
The judge ruled in favour of Thames Valley Police, finding that the use of Regulation 13 was lawful, fair and rational.
Deputy Chief Constable for Thames Valley Police Ben Snuggs, said: “We welcome that the High Court has upheld the right of a police force to decide whether probationary officers are suitable to continue in their service.
“We will continue to investigate and hold to account officers and staff who do not meet the high standards expected of them as public servants.
“This former officer told an appalling racist ‘joke’ to a group of colleagues – behaviour which has no place in policing or society.
“As a force, we are committed to tackling all forms of racism and to build trust within our communities.
“This starts with using the powers available to us to remove anyone from our organisation who uses racist language or feels it acceptable to be racist.
“We will continue in our work to represent our communities, treating them fairly and with respect, and to make our force anti-racist, anti-discriminatory and inclusive for all.”