Dismissal for ex-volunteer Northamptonshire Police inspector over offensive comment on social media

A former volunteer Northamptonshire Police inspector 'insulted his colleagues' by trying to defend an offensive comment he made on social media as 'venting frustration'.

Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 6:15 am
Updated Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 2:03 pm
The hearing was held at Northamptonshire Police's headquarters at Wootton Hall Park
The hearing was held at Northamptonshire Police's headquarters at Wootton Hall Park

Ex-Special Inspector Anthony Rawson was struck off by a gross misconduct disciplinary panel last month having admitted publishing the 'inappropriate' post in December, 2018.

"The officer has given as a partial explanation for his conduct the fact that he has seen many unpleasant things in the course of his police work," the panel said in a report on the hearing on December 9.

"He considers that a culture of dark humour can develop and posting a comment such as this can be a method of venting frustration.

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Former Special Inspector Anthony Rawson, pictured in 2014

"The panel notes that a great many people in different professional scenarios have to deal with unpleasant situations and to use this sentiment as some sort of excuse is an insult to the many who do not engage in such conduct."

The hearing heard Mr Rawson was off-duty when he made the comment on December 29, 2018.

However at least one person the panel knew of considered post to be inappropriate and was shocked by it, while it could have been seen by 'literally hundreds of people' as it was on a public forum.

"The message it gave has the capacity to do significant harm to Northamptonshire Police," the panel added in the report published on December 24.

Former Special Inspector Anthony Rawson, pictured in 2014

The panel said there was 'a lack of open admissions and co-operation at an early stage' from Mr Rawson, as well as a lack of insight, but he did apologise and express remorse at the hearing.

Character references 'speak of a man who has given many, many hours of committed service to his community', the panel added.

"He has played a full role in a valuable part of the Northamptonshire Police force," the panel said.

However, the panel determined the most suitable outcome was for Mr Rawson to be dismissed without notice and his details placed on the College of Policing barred list - he has a right of appeal.