Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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Investigation under way after inappropriate image allegedly shared by Devon and Cornwall Police sergeant

A Devon and Cornwall Police sergeant is under criminal investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for allegedly distributing an inappropriate image among a WhatsApp group.

The sergeant is also being investigated for gross misconduct for apparently sharing the altered image on 30 May of George Floyd’s arrest in Minneapolis. 

The WhatsApp group included a number of police officers and staff. Some other members of the group are also being investigated for their alleged response to the image or their apparent failure to report the matter. The serving of any misconduct notices will be kept under review.

Our investigation follows a mandatory referral from Devon and Cornwall Police after one of the WhatsApp group members reported the image to their force manager.

Regional Director Catrin Evans recently said:

“It will be of considerable public concern that such an image was apparently shared among colleagues by a serving police officer. We are criminally investigating the sergeant who allegedly shared the image, and examining the conduct of some others involved in the group.

“Our investigators will be considering whether the sharing of this image was motivated by racial discrimination. Devon and Cornwall Police has rightly promptly referred it to the IOPC, and I would like to assure people we are conducting a thorough and independent investigation.”

A criminal investigation does not mean criminal charges will necessarily follow. The serving of misconduct notices advises an individual their conduct is subject to investigation and does not necessarily imply guilt.

The IOPC oversees the police complaints system and investigates the most serious incidents and complaints involving the police in England and Wales. We use learning from our work to influence changes in policing. All our work is done independently of the police, government and interest groups. Further information is available at our website.


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