A Kent charity has questioned how a police detective found to have used racist language was allowed to keep his job.
Medway African and Caribbean Association (MACA) has hit out after former detective sergeant Jamie Weale avoided the sack, despite being found guilty of gross misconduct.
The 49-year-old officer, from Canterbury, was ruled to have described French gangs as “black b*****ds” and admitted saying he “had never met an honest Albanian.
An independent panel found that the 20-year veteran of Kent Police - who once managed a hate crime team - had used “racist, discriminatory and highly inappropriate” language.
But it stopped short of dismissing him and instead demoted him to the rank of constable - a move MACA says “gives a message that police can use racist language and get away with it”.
In a statement, MACA chairperson Carol Stewart said: “We are very concerned about the message this gives to the public and the impact in undermining trust and confidence between Kent Police and black communities, and undermines the work that MACA has been trying to undertake to rebuild that trust.
“We are very angry and upset at the outcome of this investigation and feel that this will have a detrimental impact on building trust and confidence amongst our communities, it gives a message that police can use racist language and get away with it, and these people are meant to be acting with integrity and uphold professional standards.”
In the independent misconduct panel last week, Weale admitted saying he had “never met an honest Albanian,” but denied using the phrase “black b*****ds.”
“I think I've been very clear that I did not use the word black and I definitely did not use the term black b*****ds,” Weale told the panel.
“I find it a real kick that I’m now being accused of being a racist, because I am not,” he insisted.
However, the panel, chaired by William Hansen who also sits as a high court judge, found his denials “unpersuasive.”
Arguing for Weale to be sacked sack during the hearing, barrister Aaron Rathmell said: “There’s still public concern that police don’t get it and that there are prejudicial mindsets and language within the police.”
Ms Stewart said the fallout after Weale’s demotion illustrated “there is still much more work to do around racism in our community.”
She also believes Weale may “have felt comfortable” to use such language believing it “would go unchallenged”.
“In any other profession there would be much tougher sanctions,” she said today.
“The public responses we have seen online from the minority who don’t understand what he did was wrong, are supporting of him, and saying derogatory things about the officer who reported him, clearly shows there is still much more work to do around racism in our community.”
Ms Stewart says she understands the force’s decision to continue employing Weale is under review.
Detective chief superintendent Jon Armory, the head of professional standards at Kent Police, said: “Temporary detective sergeant Jamie Weale was proven to have made discriminatory comments to a colleague and the decision to reduce his rank from sergeant to police constable was made by a panel led by a legally qualified chair who is independent of Kent Police.
“The panel had a number of sanctions available to them after finding T/DS Weale responsible for gross misconduct, including dismissal or a final written warning, and determined that a reduction in rank was appropriate and proportionate bearing in mind his previous record and character references.
“Kent Police’s stance on discriminatory language and behaviour is very clear – it is unacceptable and there is no place for it.
“We are committed to building and maintaining lasting relationships with the many diverse communities we serve and the vast majority of our officers do so with pride and integrity at all times.
“They are also well aware of the importance of standing up to inappropriate conduct, which is what happened in the case of T/DS Weale when his behaviour was challenged and reported by a colleague to our Professional Standards Department.”