Inspector dismissed after posting offensive messages on a WhatsApp group

A serving Dorset Police inspector who was found guilty of gross misconduct after posting offensive messages on a WhatsApp group and failing to challenge the behaviour of colleagues he supervised has been dismissed without notice.

Aug 16, 2023
By Paul Jacques

The force said Inspector Nicholas Mantle was in a “trusted supervisory role” and his lack of action in not only failing to challenge the “derogatory and biased actions” of colleagues but encouraging it by posting two offensive images himself was “completely unacceptable”.

Insp Mantle was found to have breached the standards of professional behaviour following a public misconduct hearing that concluded on June 2 this year. He returned on Tuesday (August 15) where the independent panel made their decision to remove him from the organisation. He will now be placed on the barred list administered by the College of Policing.

He is one of four officers and one former officer who had attended the initial hearing to face allegations received by the force’s Professional Standards Department in July and August 2022 relating to alleged incidents of bullying and discriminatory conduct by a group of officers, who were serving at the time as part of the Force Support Group (FSG). Insp Mantle was a sergeant at the time and had supervisory responsibility for colleagues in the team.

The panel ruled that the contents of the WhatsApp group contained sexual, pornographic, misogynistic, homophobic, racist, bullying, abusive, offensive and inappropriate messages, but found insufficient evidence of the officers making verbal racist or homophobic comments in the presence of other officers.

It also did not find evidence that wall art, which was alleged to have been placed in the office but was never recovered, was offensive.

The panel found that Insp Mantle did post two offensive images on the WhatsApp group, did not leave the group and failed to treat members of the public and colleagues with respect and/or courtesy. They also ruled that he breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour concerning equality and diversity by posting one message and failing to challenge derogatory and offensive behaviour of others he supervised.

PC Mark Jordan-Gill and former officer Paul Perdrisat were also found guilty of gross misconduct at the hearing. They returned on June 13  where the panel dismissed PC Jordan-Gill with immediate effect and said Mr Perdrisat would have been dismissed from the force had he not already resigned. They were also placed on the barred list.

Serving officers PC Michael Lowther and PC Matthew Young were found guilty of misconduct. PC Lowther, who challenged the behaviour on WhatsApp and left the group, was handed a written warning and PC Young was issued with a final written warning. He admitted failing to challenge the other officers but had extremely limited participation in the group.

Following the conclusion of the final hearing in respect of Insp Mantle, T/Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Farrell, Dorset Police’s lead for professional standards, said: “I would like to thank colleagues in our Counter Corruption Unit for the detailed and thorough investigation they presented to the panel, which enabled them to make the decision they have.

“Insp Nick Mantle was in a trusted supervisory role when he breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour by not only failing to challenge the derogatory and biased actions of colleagues within the team but also encouraged it by posting two offensive images to the group.

“His lack of action in failing to challenge this behaviour and failing to act when PC Lowther called it out is completely unacceptable. This is not the type of leader we wish to have in our force and as this case has shown we will robustly investigate offences and, if appropriate, remove individuals from the organisation.

“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 know the actions of these officers will have let our communities down.

“It is important to remind the public that this behaviour is not indicative of the overwhelming majority of our staff and teams out delivering quality policing every day to protect people and make Dorset a safe county for everyone.

“We are committed to driving up standards of behaviour within Dorset and ongoing work includes adopting learning across the organisation from this case to stamp out such behaviour, delivering inclusion training to officers and staff, and ensuring our vetting and enhanced vetting obligations are being met and fit for purpose.”

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