A police officer from West Yorkshire who was involved in a WhatsApp conversation where racist and misogynistic messages were shared has been dismissed from duty without notice.

The investigation, conducted by the Force under the guidance of the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), examined messages exchanged by PC Louis Hepplestone. This followed a separate inquiry that uncovered concerning phone messages between him and his colleague, Detention Officer William Loyd-Hughes.

During a hearing for gross misconduct, which concluded today (3/11), PC Hepplestone admitted to sending and responding to offensive messages, as well as failing to report the messages he received.

The panel determined that the case amounted to gross misconduct, leading to his immediate dismissal.

Speaking after the hearing Detective Chief Superintendent Nicola Bryar, of West Yorkshire Police’s Professional Standards Directorate, said: “There is no place in policing for the abhorrent attitudes displayed in the messages that came to light as part of this investigation.

“In failing to challenge racist and misogynistic language, the officer has brought discredit to the standards expected of him.

“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.”

“Misogynistic behaviours and attitudes do not belong in our force.

“Officers have a duty to challenge such language and it is made clear that it is expected that they do so.

“We made a mandatory referral to the IOPC when the information in respect of this case first came to our attention.”