UK

Hampshire Police chief sacked for calling travellers ‘pikeys’

Hampshire Police’s chief special officer is sacked for calling travellers ‘pikeys’ in WhatsApp message to colleague

  • Chief Special Officer Tom Haye was taken to a misconduct hearing and sacked
  • He used the term which is derogatory for members of the traveller community
  • Hampshire Constabulary officer disputed it amounted to gross misconduct

A police chief has been sacked for using the term ‘pikeys’ in a WhatsApp message to a colleague.

Chief Special Officer Tom Haye was taken to a misconduct hearing and sacked for gross misconduct after he used the term which is derogatory for members of the Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers community.

The senior Hampshire Constabulary officer with 30 years experience – who disputed that it amounted to gross misconduct – had been in a conversation with a colleague who was house-sitting for him and when he said it ‘keeps the pikeys out’. 

Hampshire Constabulary sacked five officers last month after a whistleblower revealed details of the racist, sexist and homophobic language that was rife at one of its units. 

Chief Special Officer Tom Haye was taken to a misconduct hearing and sacked for gross misconduct after he used the term

Mr Haye, who was the most senior Special officer in the force and in charge of more than 100 Specials, is a Dutch national and claims ‘pikeys’ is similar to an inoffensive word in his native tongue.

Following the hearing, Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney, his line manager, sacked him and placed him on the police barred list but Mr Haye plans to appeal the ‘disproportionate’ dismissal.

It was heard the colleague, who was house sitting for him, asked about the officer’s home on WhatsApp.

In one message the officer said ‘of course not – it’s your new home down south lol’ and it was followed by a later message which said ‘keeps the pikeys out’.

Mr Haye, who works in IT, said: ‘I would like to apologise for any offence given by this term. It was said only once in a private conversation on WhatsApp with a friend.

‘I am a bilingual Dutch national and, in haste, I used the term as a direct substitute for the Dutch word to steal – ‘pikken’ – without properly thinking through its derogatory meaning in English. I refute I meant it in any pejorative manner.

‘At the time, there had been burglaries near where I lived. 

The senior Hampshire Constabulary officer had been in a WhatsApp conversation with a colleague who was house-sitting for him. (Stock image)

 The senior Hampshire Constabulary officer had been in a WhatsApp conversation with a colleague who was house-sitting for him. (Stock image)

‘My friend was house sitting while I was away to deter any thieves and this was the context for the conversation.

‘I will be appealing this decision, which I feel is wholly disproportionate to what I did, especially in relation to other much more serious recent offences in Hampshire where police officers were not dismissed.

Who are special constables and what do they do?

Special constables are volunteer police who have the same police powers and equipment as regular Police Officers.

The special officers take on the role on a voluntary basis and will often have other day jobs which they fit around their police duties.

Officers will not get paid for their work but are reimbursed for any expenses. 

In order to become a special constable you must be a British, Commonwealth, European Economic Area (EEA) citizen, not have a criminal record and have resided in the UK for a continuous period of three years.

You are also required to reach certain medical and fitness standards.

‘I also have serious reservations about how this case has been handled by Hampshire Constabulary as it has taken almost two years to come to a conclusion.

‘Myself and my legal team also felt it was not appropriate the Chief Constable chaired the hearing following her recent involvement in those more serious misconduct offences. However, this objection was dismissed.

‘I have an exemplary record as a senior special constable spanning 30 years, volunteering thousands of hours to keep the communities of Hampshire safe.

‘Finally, I take comfort in the fact my friends and family know I am in no way prejudiced against anyone.’

A Hampshire Constabulary statement read: ‘On May 8, 2018, during a WhatsApp conversation, CSO Haye used a term which is derogatory for members of the Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers (GRT) community.

‘It was alleged that this was a breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour for Equality and Diversity; Authority, Courtesy and Respect and Discreditable Conduct, which if proven would amount to Gross Misconduct.

‘During the Special Case Hearing conducted by Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney, the breach of Authority, Respect and Courtesy was admitted and therefore the other breaches were put aside.

‘It was found proven that CSO had breached the standard of Authority, Respect and Courtesy and committed Gross Misconduct. CSO Haye was dismissed without notice and placed on the Barred List.’ 

Advertisement


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button