York Pc who called black person a golliwog is allowed to keep job

Pc Paul Southgate.  Picture: Ross Parry AgencyPc Paul Southgate.  Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Pc Paul Southgate. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
A YORKSHIRE Pc who referred to a black person as a 'golliwog' and told builders a young female officer was 'gagging for it' has been allowed to keep his job.

A misconduct panel heard that Army veteran Pc Paul Southgate, who works for North Yorkshire Police, made a comment to staff about golliwogs on jam jar lids being used as bus passes by black people.

The York father-of three, who has black family members, had claimed he was explaining a “history lesson”. But a North Yorkshire police misconduct panel ruled that this constituted gross misconduct.

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Southgate was also found guilty of gross misconduct for using the term ‘gagging for it’ while describing a female police support officer.

And he was also found guilty of misconduct for not using official protocol for lost property, not investigating lines of enquiry when asked to do so, not investigating a domestic violence case and swearing when talking to a colleague.

The independently-chaired disciplinary panel was urged to dismiss the officer by North Yorkshire Police’s legal representative, who said if they did not do so, “public confidence in the police would be eroded”.

The force said in a statement today: “Having considered all the evidence, including the past record of the officer, the panel concluded that whilst the officer’s behaviour could in no way be condoned, he should be given a final chance to address the failings in his conduct.

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“It was therefore decided that he should be given a final written warning, but will remain in post.”

Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Paul Kennedy said: “Poor professional standards, and sexist or racist attitudes have no place in the police service. The fact that these matters were taken to an independently-chaired panel is an indication of how seriously we view this type of misconduct.

“It is for the panel to determine what happens as a result of a misconduct hearing, and they have decided that this officer should receive a final written warning, but remain in post. He will continue to serve, and we will ensure that all our officers take heed of the message from this hearing.”

The forced noted in its statement that Pc Southgate had given good service to the community for the vast majority of his career as a police officer.

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It said he had not been known to make racist comments on any other occasion, and had received a letter of thanks from a member of the public praising his sensitive handling of a case of racist abuse.

During the hearing this week at the force’s Newby Wiske HQ, Edward Pleeth, on behalf of North Yorkshire Police, said: “It is in the force’s view that the panel’s findings of gross misconduct result in dismissal without notice.

“We believe that the duty of a police officer is paramount to North Yorkshire Police.

“If civilians see that the officer is left unpunished then the public confidence in the police will be eroded.

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“A police officer is someone of integrity and his [PC Southgate’s] lack of insight during this investigation of misconduct is why I ask the panel to dismiss this officer.”

The misconduct panel was handed written statements from colleagues, friends and family.

A fellow police officer PC Cullen spoke highly of PC Southgate and said he was a diligent and hard working officer.

The hearing at the police HQ in Northallerton heard Southgate was blighted by person problems.

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His Police Federation representative Mike Rawlinson told the misconduct panel: “This is not a police officer who sits in the canteen, at home or with others and engages in sexualised, sexual and inappropriate banter.

“This is not an officer who should be dismissed from this force.

“Since 2001 when he joined North Yorkshire Police he has never had concerns about his behaviour and has been conscientious.

“His colleagues, as you can see, make reference to his sense of humour.

“This was his terribly ill-judged sense of humour.”

Mr Rawlinson added: “He got it wrong - but he does not have to pay that price with his career.

He added: “I ask you to consider a written warning.”