UK police officers have shared dozens of unauthorised photos of crime scenes and dead bodies on messaging services such as WhatsApp, as exposed by openDemocracy in recent years.
In our initial analysis, we discovered a catalogue of disturbing images that were sent to colleagues, as well as the family and friends of colleagues, by the police in cases of misconduct.
In a parade room, an officer from Derbyshire Constabulary displayed several pictures of a corpse to fellow colleagues.
In another case last year, PC Leicestershire took a photo of a detainee who had soiled himself, with the reflection encouraging him to simply not be sacked.
Prior to the disciplinary hearings, the PC in question evaded any consequences by choosing to resign. The police officer, along with their partner, shared explicit pictures of a defenseless minor who was under the safeguard of the Essex police department.
As per the freedom of information (FOI) responses, there have been a minimum of 45 instances since 2015 where law enforcement officials were alleged to have captured unsanctioned images of corpses, crime locations, crime victims, and individuals in custody. In aggregate.
One police force could claim that the number of police officers could be higher, but it cannot deny whether it has shared pictures of crime scenes and bodies.
Although 13 officers were dismissed or sacked, many were allowed to keep their jobs without facing any disciplinary action simply by resigning within four weeks.
The police forces have come under increased scrutiny since the murder of Sarah Everard, in which a policeman serving in Couzens, Wayne, was killed in South London.
In the year 2020, siblings Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry were fatally stabbed, and it was also revealed that police officers had captured and circulated pictures of them.
In response to the discoveries made by openDemocracy, Mina Smallman, the mother of the sisters, expressed that she was “completely unsurprised”.
She expressed, “It is an act that strips away one’s humanity.” “I simply feel deeply saddened for the loved ones of the individuals whose images were captured.”
“That is my opinion regarding such behavior,” she remarked. “An individual capturing photographs and distributing them to others, saying ‘take a look at this’. This resembles a modern-day rendition of the same. It brings to mind the act of lynching.”
The previous examination conducted by Casey on the Metropolitan Police’s culture, which indicated that the organization faced issues of systemic racism, sexism, and homophobia, was subsequently supported by the discoveries of a non-partisan member of the House of Lords.
OpenDemocracy has previously revealed how hundreds of British police officers have been dismissed or disciplined in recent years for their sickening use of social media to send sexist and racist messages after they kept their jobs.
The BBC recently disclosed that six former officers of the Metropolitan Police have been accused of sending racist messages on WhatsApp.
The Metropolitan Police Service informed openDemocracy that it is aware of four instances where officers captured photographs of deceased individuals.
Among the officers involved, Jamie Lewis and Deniz Jaffer were imprisoned in 2021 for capturing and disseminating images of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry.
Body decomposed man’s a of photo her send to Lewis asking for sacked was Murphy Bonnie, officer another 2023, January in later.
The Metropolitan Police is currently investigating the presence of photos of deceased individuals on the digital devices of police officers, and they have confirmed that a fourth case is still under investigation.
According to our analysis, there have been at least twelve comparable incidents occurring outside London since 2015, where officers have faced allegations of capturing images of deceased individuals.
“Guess who has been found deceased.”
During the Wallwork hearing, A’s representative argued that the image was not taken to mock or make fun of the woman who actually felt quite sorry. However, it was acknowledged that there was gross misconduct, even though it was not claimed on behalf of A.
In 2016, a police officer in West Mercia was dismissed for taking photos of a decomposing body in water. Meanwhile, an officer in Derbyshire was accused of taking pictures while attending the scene of a sudden death, before sending the images to a member of the deceased’s family.
The PC was additionally accused of attempting to conceal what he had done. In 2021, at a crime scene, a Thames Valley Police officer captured images of a deceased woman and shared them.
Northumbria Police refused to disclose details of misconduct under the Freedom of Information Act. Luke Dickson, a PC, was sacked last year after keeping photographs of decaying bodies on his phone, as well as sharing a very sensitive image of a domestic violence victim.
Permitted to retain employment
Despite the disturbing nature of the incidents, several police officers have been allowed to keep their jobs, even after admitting to taking unauthorized photos.
“Thoughtful evaluation” is an internal procedure in which “important insights” are “recognized” and “acquired”. Their employment was retained, and they were merely directed to this procedure after a personal computer in Derbyshire received multiple pictures of a corpse and exhibited them to other coworkers. The incident was distinct in Derbyshire.
Another officer in North Yorkshire was allowed to do a “reflective review” after taking unauthorised pictures of a dead body in 2021.
An officer from Dorset Police received a written caution for capturing an image of a deceased woman and sending it to a coworker.
A similar incident occurred in 2015 at West Yorkshire Police, resulting in a “final written warning” being issued.
The police officer was issued a written caution. In 2021, it was revealed that a law enforcement officer had transmitted an image of a deceased individual to a civilian. Greater Manchester Police declined to disclose specific information, stating to openDemocracy that fulfilling our Freedom of Information (FOI) inquiry would incur excessive expenses.
Officers across the country have been accused of taking pictures of dead bodies using their personal phones, as well as photographing crime scenes.
Colleagues disseminated it and captured an unauthorized image of a detainee promptly following a challenging apprehension. Photographs of individuals who had been apprehended or detained were discovered on their mobile device. One police constable was discovered to possess it.
Last year, a crime suspect forcibly restrained the officer for Staffordshire Police and shared on WhatsApp CCTV footage recorded on their personal phone.
They include a colleague at Cornwall and Devon Police who shared a photo of themselves at a crime scene. Others were accused of taking pictures of crime scenes and traffic accidents.
The general public were provided with images of marijuana plants and a marijuana facility, which were captured by authorities in Kent and Hertfordshire who have also been apprehended.