Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/11/29/police_decapitation_email/

Police rapped over 'racist' email

Images showed black man being decapitated

By Kelly Fiveash

Posted in CIO, 29th November 2006 11:16 GMT

An email showing a man being decapitated has led to disciplinary action for 100 Herfordshire police officers and staff after a "robust" investigation.

The American email at the centre of the controversy reportedly showed images of a black man who, during a police chase in Atlanta, attempted to jump from a flyover onto the roof of a building and was then decapitated after falling on railings.

The email, entitled "do not run from the police", was distributed to 400 officers and staff, of which 100 viewed the disturbing content. The remaining 300 deleted the message.

Deputy chief constable Simon Ash said: "I am disappointed by the conduct of officers and staff who distributed this inappropriate image that some people may have perceived as being racist."

However, Adam Kemp, chairman of the Hertfordshire Police Association told the BBC that the disciplinary action did not relate to any racist offence, but rather that staff had breached the force's internet security policy.

"My own view is that the image itself is not racist but it's certainly inappropriate to be circulating it within a police force," he said.

The five-month-long investigation was conducted under the supervision of the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Eight police sergeants were reprimanded and seven civilian supervisors were given final written warnings for distributing the email.

Read the full press release from the Hertfordshire Constabulary here