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Commissioner: Sacked officer 'let down the public and police'

By WMNAGreenwood  |  Posted: April 02, 2014

Commissioner: Sacked officer 'let down the public and police'
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The sacking of a well-known Devon and Cornwall Police officer for gross misconduct has been welcomed by Crime Commissioner Tony Hogg.

Gary Watts, a sergeant and neighbourhood team leader in Falmouth, was one of the force’s most prolific users of social media amassing thousands of followers on Twitter.

And he made national headlines last year when he organised a spoof video of hit pop song Gangnam Style, which raised thousands of pounds for charity.

But the married former RAF serviceman was suspended from his post in May last year pending an internal inquiry.

He was dismissed from the force “with immediate effect” after a disciplinary hearing on Monday which he chose not attend.

The reasons for his dismissal have not been released although they do not relate to his use of social media.

Today, Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Hogg welcomed the decision.

“Gary Watts’ behaviour clearly fell below that expected of a serving police officer and I welcome the force’s decision to dismiss him,” Mr Hogg said.

“Everyday, police officers in Devon and Cornwall put their own safety at risk to protect the public. They operate to high standards of integrity. Mr Watts has let down the public, the police and his ex-colleagues.”

Mr Watts, meanwhile, hit back at the force today via social media claiming it had an “agenda”.

Using the Twitter name @surfchilled, the former police sergeant claimed: “They can’t even get a press release right. It wasn’t Monday and I wasn’t there. But then again they promised (in writing) not to put one out.”

He added: “Thanks to everyone for your messages. I have moved on when I realised what their agenda was in July.”

Responding to Press inquiries on Tuesday, the force said: “The allegations were found to be proven and Sgt Watts has been dismissed from the force with immediate effect for gross misconduct.

“No criminal charges have been brought against him.”

Deputy Chief Constable Bill Skelly, who is responsible for disciplinary matters within the force, added: “We expect high standards from our officers and any officer who is thought to have breached these standards can be subject to disciplinary enquiries which can ultimately lead to dismissal.

“It is important that members of the public have confidence in the officers and staff who serve their communities and behaviour standards are extremely important in maintaining that confidence.”

In January last year, Mr Watts starred in an online video with colleagues to music by Korean rapper Psy. It went on to be a huge hit on YouTube and was viewed more than 100,000 times.

Within hours of being released, the video raised thousands of pounds for a disabled boy to help adapt his home.

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  • Tony248i  |  April 03 2014, 2:07PM

    Perhaps "members of the public" would have more confidence if they deigned to tell us what this officer was supposed to have done wrong instead of keeping it secret?

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