Pcs caught on mother's voicemail saying they hoped her child got raped
Two police officers have been sacked after accidentally leaving a message on a mother's voicemail saying they hoped her vulnerable child would "get raped".
The Avon and Somerset Police officers were on their way to an incident involving the child when one of them rang the mother's mobile for more information.
There was no answer, but the voicemail had inadvertently been activated and recorded a conversation in which the officers were laughing and said they hoped the child would "get raped".
Constables Samuel Dexter and Hannah Mayo admitted gross misconduct and were dismissed without notice following a hearing.
In his findings, Chief Constable Andy Marsh said the officers' comments had "broken the trust" that the child's family had with the police.
He said: "Those comments, which I accept were out of character and said with flippancy, risk damaging the confidence of the wider community in the police profession as a whole. They go way beyond the boundaries that could be described as 'dark humour'."
He added: "I cannot accept that the comments were a mistake, they were far more serious than that, and the people we serve will be appalled to hear that police officers spoke in such a way about a child."
According to the hearing outcome, Pc Dexter had been tasked with an incident earlier in the day when the child was reported missing. The child was subsequently found, but police were later called by the mother informing them that the child was causing problems at the family home.
It was while en route to the address that the officers' conversation about the child, referred to as 'X', was recorded.
According to a transcript Pc Dexter said: "X was like and you can't stop me and walked out the door and I was like whatever. I felt like saying I don't give a f*** I hope you get raped."
After Pc Mayo replied "yes... and get butt raped" the sound of both officers apparently laughing could be heard on the recording.
Chief Inspector Mark Edgington, of the Professional Standards Department at Avon and Somerset Police, said: "Both officers used appalling and horrific language about a vulnerable missing child and their family.
"There are no excuses for their behaviour and their actions are not reflective of our force or the officers and staff who work extremely hard every day to safeguard and protect vulnerable people. The officers failed to treat the child and their family with respect and undermined public confidence in the force."
Testimonies considered at the misconduct hearing described Pc Dexter as a "hard-working, caring and valued" officer, who had been commended for a "lifesaving intervention" at the scene of a stabbing in 2014.
Pc Mayo was described as an "outstanding, hard-working and compassionate" officer who had a previous role in overseas aid.
Speaking before the hearing, Pc Dexter told the Daily Mail: "I still to this day can't believe it was me who said those things. I am deeply sorry for the comments I made - I never intended the upset caused to the family."
Pc Mayo told the paper: "I have thought about this incident every day since. I'm so disappointed in myself."