Two police officers have been sacked after they were recorded saying they hoped a woman's child "got raped". Avon and Somerset constables Samuel Dexter and Hannah Mayo admitted gross misconduct and dismissed without noticed following a hearing relating to an incident involving a vulnerable child who had been reported missing.
Dexter was responding to the report earlier in the day about the missing child, who was eventually found by his sister and returned home but ran off again when the officer pulled up. Dexter then found him again and took him home.
Police were later called again by the mother who said the teenage boy was causing problems at home.
When Dexter and Mayo were heading back to to the address following the latest call, they rang the mother called for more information. The woman did not pick up, but the voicemail inadvertently activated and recorded a conversation between the pair about the child, referred to a 'X'.
Venting his frustration, Dexter Mayo: "He seemed to be relishing in the fact I'd been driving around aimlessly looking for him.
"I felt like saying to him, 'Whatever, you little s**t, I don't give a f**k. I hope you get raped'."
Mayo replied "yes... and get butt raped" to which both officers were recorded apparently laughing at.
Following their dismissal, chief constable Andy Marsh said the officers' comments had "broken the trust" that the child's family had with the police.
He said: "Those comments, which I accept were out of character and said with flippancy, risk damaging the confidence of the wider community in the police profession as a whole.
"They go way beyond the boundaries that could be described as 'dark humour'. I cannot accept that the comments were a mistake, they were far more serious than that, and the people we serve will be appalled to hear that police officers spoke in such a way about a child."
Dexter said how he "still to this day" can't believe he made the comments about the child.
He said: "I am absolutely mortified. It's not who I am. I am deeply sorry for the comments I made – I never intended the upset caused to the family.
"I can only put it down to the stress and frustration of the incident – although that is not a validation, and I should never have expressed them in that way.
Chief Inspector Mark Edgington, of the Professional Standards Department at Avon and Somerset Police, added: "Both officers used appalling and horrific language about a vulnerable missing child and their family.
"There are no excuses for their behaviour and their actions are not reflective of our force or the officers and staff who work extremely hard every day to safeguard and protect vulnerable people. The officers failed to treat the child and their family with respect and undermined public confidence in the force."