The Metropolitan Police has failed in its bid to overturn a Police Appeals Tribunal (PAT) ruling for it to reinstate a senior officer convicted for possessing a child abuse video via a WhatsApp group.
Supt Robyn Williams was dismissed in March 2020, four months after being sentenced to community service for having the clip – which she never watched – on her phone.
Williams was sent the video by her sister in February 2018 who had been angered by it and wanted the police to take action. Williams claimed she at no stage knew the video was on her phone.
Williams is a holder of the Queen’s Police Medal, a campaigner for getting more women into policing and attracted praise for her work after the Grenfell fire. In February 2021 she lost an attempt to overturn her criminal conviction at the appeal court.
In June 2021, the Police Appeal Tribunal concluded that “a flawed structure” had led the Met to sack Williams and that she should be reinstated.
In the judgment at the High Court yesterday, Mrs Justice Heather Williams said that no basis had been shown for overturning the PAT’s decision.
“The PAT was entitled to regard this as an exceptional case in which dismissal for the officer’s gross misconduct was not a necessary and proportionate sanction. As it applied the correct legal approach, the appropriate sanction was a matter for its specialist evaluation.”
The judgment continued: “The PAT reached the conclusion that it did because of the unique circumstances of the conviction, the officer’s stellar career, the substantial impact she had had on enhancing the reputation of the MPS as a whole and its assessment that her dismissal would reduce confidence in the police in some of the communities in which the MPS had struggled to gain trust.”
A Met Police spokesperson said: “We are aware of the outcome of judicial review proceedings brought by the Metropolitan Police Service in relation to two Police Appeal Tribunal cases.
“We will now take time to carefully consider the judgments and any next steps.”
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