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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 November 2006, 14:39 GMT
Officers reprimanded over e-mail
Herts Police HQ
Officers and civilian staff disciplined over offensive email
An e-mail showing a man being decapitated has resulted in 140 Hertfordshire police officers and civilian staff being disciplined.

Eight police sergeants were given formal reprimands and seven civilian supervisors received final written warnings for distributing the message.

The e-mail, originating from the US, shows a black man being decapitated on railings after a pursuit by police.

A senior officer said the image could be perceived as racist and offensive.

The series of images, which show the pursued man being decapitated after jumping from a flyover, is entitled "Do not run from the police".

Disappointed by conduct

Hertfordshire Police mounted a five-month-long "robust" investigation into the distribution of the e-mail, under the supervision of the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

A total of 440 officers and staff at the force received it, 300 of whom deleted it. However, it was circulated by the other 140 who were at sergeant rank and below or of civilian grade.

I don't think a robust enough sanction has been taken against the officers concerned, especially the supervisory ones
Keith Jarrett, President of the Black Police Association

Deputy Chief Constable Simon Ash said: "I am disappointed by the conduct of officers and staff who distributed this inappropriate image that some people may have perceived as being racist."

However, chairman of the Hertfordshire Police Federation Adam Kemp said he did not believe it was racist and staff had been dealt with for a breach of the force's internet security policy.

He said: "The email may have been perceived by others as racist but we have had so many differing opinions around this image.

"My own view is that the image itself is not racist but it's certainly inappropriate to be circulating it within a police force."

Alicia Moore, of Hertfordshire's Black Police Association, said the disciplinary sanctions were "appropriate".

"We see this outcome as an opportunity for us all to learn from the investigation and to be able to move on," she said.

President of the Black Police Association Keith Jarrett said disciplinary action should have gone further.

"I don't think a robust enough sanction has been taken against the officers concerned, especially the supervisory ones," he said.

"It is, at best, disrespectful to the black people that live in Hertfordshire."

Police force tarnished by offensive email

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