Robyn Williams: Sacked Met officer wins appeal against dismissal
A highly decorated police officer convicted of possessing a child abuse video has won an appeal against her dismissal from the Met Police.
Robyn Williams was ordered to do 200 hours of community service for possession of an indecent image on her phone in November 2019. Her trial heard she received the video via WhatsApp from her sister who had been sent the clip by her boyfriend. A Police Appeals Tribunal on Wednesday found her sacking was “unfair”.
The independent panel concluded it was “unreasonable” to sack Ms Williams after her conviction and determined that her dismissal should be replaced with a final written warning. The full details of the judgement will be published in the coming days.
At her trial, Ms Williams said she had not viewed the 54-second video and did not know it was on her phone. But prosecutors said there was no way she could have missed it, and cited a response from the officer to her older sister to “please call” as evidence she wanted to discuss the content.
The jury was told experts had not been able to examine Ms Williams’ phone properly. She was sacked by the Met in March last year after a special disciplinary hearing concluded her conviction amounted to “gross misconduct”.
The Met found that Ms Williams’ actions were likely to undermine public confidence and were not a “trivial lapse”.
Met Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball said the officer’s failure to report the matter could have caused significant further harm to the child. She said it was “entirely unacceptable” for police officers responsible for enforcing the law to break it themselves.
Return to work
After the tribunal concluded, Ms Williams said: “I am extremely pleased with today’s outcome. For over a year, before and during the pandemic, I have continued to support local people by working within community initiatives. I am therefore delighted to be able to return to the work I love, serving our communities within London.”
The Police Superintendents’ Association, which supported Ms Williams’ appeal, said: “We are pleased that today’s panel agreed that her dismissal was unreasonable in light of the complex circumstances surrounding her conviction.”
In a statement, the Met said: “We await the full judgement. Once received, we will then consider the ruling and engage with Ms Williams’ representatives accordingly.”
Source: BBC News
Editor’s comment: compare and contrast the treatment of Ms Williams with the two police officers who are still employed but suspended: