MEMBERS of a “toxic” police squad who shared racist, sexist and homophobic messages, and bullied colleagues – leaving one suicidal – have been found guilty of gross misconduct.

Two serving Dorset Police officers and a former officer were found to have breached the standards of professional behaviour between 2018 and 2021 while based in Bournemouth.

It has been reported the officers pinned posters containing swastikas on the wall of their office and created a ‘secret Santa’ calendar said to contain sexist and derogatory images.

Following a public misconduct hearing which concluded on Friday, June 2, PC Mark Jordan-Gill, Inspector Nicholas Mantle and former officer Paul Perdrisat were found guilty of gross misconduct.

The panel also determined that serving officers PC Michael Lowther and PC Matthew Young, who admitted misconduct, had also breached the standards of professional behaviour but that their actions amounted to misconduct.

PC Lowther was handed a written warning and PC Young was issued with a final written warning.

During the hearing, an officer known only as PC A said the quintet’s treatment of him left him considering suicide.

He described Perdrisat as the “alpha male” and said: “I challenged PC Perdrisat and took him to one side. ‘Why are you doing this?’ And he said to me, ‘By picking on the weakest link we get rid of them’.”

He added: “I didn’t want to wake up in the morning. I thought about taking my own life.”

Bournemouth Echo:

The hearing heard that allegations were received by the force’s Professional Standards Department in July and August last year about the officers while they were serving with the Force Support Group in Bournemouth.

During the investigation a significant number of messages were found on a WhatsApp group used by the officers to discuss work and private matters on their phones. Many of the messages sent between June and October 2020 contained racist, sexist, misogynistic, and homophobic language and images.

A panel must now determine what sanctions the remaining officers will receive, with the breaches so serious that dismissal is to be considered.

Deputy Chief Constable Sam de Reya said: “Any behaviour demonstrating traits of prejudice/negative bias against a person will not be tolerated in our organisation and, as this case has demonstrated, we will swiftly and robustly investigate any offences reported to us.

“We respect the decision of the panel and await the remaining sanctions.

“The public quite rightly expect the highest standards of behaviour from serving police officers and staff as this is a core component of maintaining the trust of our communities. I am sorry that the behaviour of these officers let you down.

“We are committed to investigating any unethical or unacceptable behaviour relating to a member of our organisation and I would encourage you to report them so they can be thoroughly investigated.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, David Sidwick, added: “The sanctions that have been placed on the officers that have been found guilty of misconduct are appropriate in light of the evidence that was put before the panel.”