Police force denies decapitation e-mail is a reflection of racism

Hertfordshire Police has insisted that an e-mail distributed among employees showing a black man being decapitated is not a sign of racism within the force.

The service has disciplined 140 officers and staff for circulating the offensive e-mail, which was entitled ‘Do not run from the police’.

Pauline Lawrence, head of HR at Hertfordshire Police, told Personnel Today that it was taking “thorough and comprehensive” action to deal with the situation.

“I don’t think the e-mail was indicative of racism, but it is disappointing for the organisation,” she said.

“We have clear policies in place to deal with this type of issue, and we have made it very clear to officers and staff that this e-mail was unacceptable.”

The force has already formally reprimanded eight sergeants and issued final written warnings to seven civilian managers. A total of 440 officers and staff are thought to have received the e-mail, and 300 staff deleted it.

“We set up an investigation team, led by the deputy chief constable, as soon as the issue was identified in the force, and we worked through how we could handle it,” Lawrence said.

The force is reviewing its IT policy and ensuring measures are put in place to track e-mails that are not related to work, she added.


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