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Allegations of Racist Behaviour by Officers 2015-2020

Date of request: 14 February 2021
Reference: 202/21


  • Please can you provide a breakdown for the number of police officers that have been investigated, reprimanded or sacked for racist behaviour in each calendar year from 2015 to 2020.
  • Can you also provide details of the incidents that led to disciplinary action taking place and the outcome of that action.


For the interests of transparency, can you please provide:

  • Data on complaints and conduct matters where an allegation of racism has been made between 2015 and 2020.
  • Of these, how many resulted in misconduct/gross misconduct investigation.
  • The outcome of any misconduct/gross misconduct investigation (eg. if an officer is reprimanded or sacked)



Please find below the number of allegations of racist behaviour where an officer was recorded between 2015 and 2020.

Year 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
No of allegations 27 39 29 41 45 83
No. that resulted in misconduct 4 5 6 5 5 3*

*this figure is subject to change and only reflect those allegations which have resulted, at this time, in a misconduct hearing having taken place.

  2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Misconduct No case to answer 1 2 4    
Management Action         2
Case to answer       1  
Gross Misconduct No case to answer 1 2      
Management Action       1  
Written/ Final Written Warning       1 1
Dismissed or would have been dismissed 2 1 1 2 2
Special Requirements Hearing – not proven     1    

There are currently no outcomes for any allegations made in 2020 as these misconduct hearings have yet to take place.

Please also find attached a summary of the allegations that resulted in the misconduct/ gross misconduct hearings mentioned above.

With regards to any ongoing investigations, I am not obliged to provide all the information requested. As such the exemptions applicable to this information is

  • Section 30(1)(a)(b)(c) – Investigations and proceedings conducted by a public authority.

Section 30 is a qualified class based exemption and as such requires a public interest test to be conducted, which is as follows:

Public Interest Test

Considerations favouring disclosure:

Disclosure of any further information may go some way to demonstrating that the force is efficient, effective and accountable for the actions that it takes including its’ decision making process.


Considerations favouring non-disclosure:

Information relating to any ongoing investigation whether this be an internal or external investigation of members of the public or members of the police force are very rarely disclosed via the Freedom of Information Department. Should disclosure of any ongoing investigations be made at this time it would seriously undermine the right to a fair trial of all those involved. The current and future role of the constabulary effectively being able to conduct investigations and proceedings may be compromised by the release of any further information at this time.


Balancing test

After weighing up the competing interests, I have determined that the disclosure of any further information would not be in the public interest. I believe the importance of the factors favouring non-disclosure outweigh those considerations favouring disclosure.  At this time the potential harm to current investigations outweighs any public benefit.

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