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Former PC barred from policing after gross misconduct ruling

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A former PC has been barred from policing after he was found to have made racist comments while working for Avon and Somerset Police.

Daniel Wheller was found, following a misconduct hearing this week, to have breached five policing standards by a Legally Qualified Chair (LQC), who is independent of policing.

The LQC ruled Mr Wheller’s actions amounted to gross misconduct and the former officer would have been dismissed, had he not resigned from Avon and Somerset Police in December 2022.

He was accused of making racist comments about two members of the public in relation to his duties as a police officer. This included making disparaging remarks about the appearance of Black individuals he met and stereotyping interactions with Black members of the public by saying they would try to use their ethnicity to their advantage.

It was also alleged that whilst off-duty, Mr Wheller displayed a racist attitude in conversation with a member of the public, which caused upset, specifically around slavery and the death of George Floyd.

The remarks were brought to our attention through an anonymous letter and led to a misconduct investigation being undertaken.

Former PC Wheller, who was based in Bridgwater, was also found to have submitted coursework as part of his police officer degree programme that was either not completed by him or received significant assistance from another individual.

The Legally Qualified Chair ruled former PC Wheller breached the following standards:

  • Honesty and Integrity
  • Orders and Instructions
  • Authority, Respect and Courtesy
  • Equality and Diversity
  • Discreditable Conduct

Head of Professional Standards Department, Superintendent Mark Edgington, said: “The racist attitude and language the former officer used – both in relation to his police duties and while off-duty – is wholly unacceptable.

“There has been a lot of commentary in recent months about institutional racism in policing, and cases like this highlight why we should never shy away from tackling this issue head on. It is not acceptable to ignore, disregard, or consider such comments to be light-hearted or flippant; there’s simply no place in policing for people who harbour abhorrent racist views.

“This former PC’s conduct fell well below the standards we expect of all our officers and staff and he has let down not only the public but his colleagues with his comments, who will rightly be shocked and appalled.

“He resigned prior to this week’s hearing and will now be placed on a national barred list, preventing him from seeking other employment within the police service and other law enforcement agencies.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to the person who trusted us to do the right thing and raised this with us anonymously and hope the public take confidence with the way this former officer has been robustly dealt with.”

The full outcome will be published on the misconduct section of our website once available.