A man from Huddersfield was today (Wednesday, April 19) sentenced to an 18-month Community Order; 100 hours of unpaid work and rehabilitation activity, for posting grossly offensive messages on Twitter and showing support for a proscribed organisation.

William Loyd-Hughes aged 27, was arrested by officers from Counter Terrorism Policing North East last September. An investigation into the messages was directed by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) following a mandatory referral from West Yorkshire Police.

Loyd-Hughes was a serving member of police staff in West Yorkshire at the time the offences were committed, in August and September 2022.

The investigation showed Loyd-Hughes had used disguised Twitter accounts to share Extreme Right Wing views with his followers and a racist hashtag to promote them to a wider online audience.

Following the charge, he pleaded guilty to publishing images in support of a proscribed organisation; the Ulster Defence Association, contrary to the Terrorism Act 2000, and Improper use of an electronic communications network, contrary to s127 of the Communications Act 2003.

Detective Chief Superintendent James Dunkerley is the Head of Counter Terrorism Policing North East. He said: “Sharing extremist views and propaganda are serious offences and we will always seek to prosecute those responsible, irrespective of their occupation or background.

“This is particularly important when those involved occupy positions of trust. There is no place for such deeply offensive views anywhere in our society, but particularly in policing.

“Tackling extremist material online is an essential part of protecting the public and preventing offences that may encourage extremism, fuel community tensions, or motivate others to act.

“We urge anyone who sees extremist content online to report their concerns by completing the confidential form at www.gov.uk/ACT, or by calling police in confidence on 0800 789321.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Nicola Bryar, of West Yorkshire Police’s Professional Standards Directorate, said: “The abhorrent attitudes and outlook displayed by this male as detailed in the court proceedings have no place in policing in West Yorkshire. West Yorkshire Police has signed up to the Police Race Action Plan and takes a zero-tolerance approach to any use of racist language by our officers, staff or volunteers. We also make it clear that being a member of a proscribed organisation is prohibited if you are a police employee.”

“We made a mandatory referral to the IOPC when the allegations against this former detention officer first came to our attention. While this staff member has resigned, misconduct proceedings will now resume. He will remain on the College of Policing’s Advisory List until proceedings have been concluded which will prevent him from gaining future employment within the police service.”