Transgender police officer who branded campaigner a Nazi is sacked

Transgender police officer who branded campaigner a Nazi is sacked
By: Transgender Posted On: October 30, 2023 View: 441

Transgender police officer who branded campaigner a Nazi is sacked

  • Lynsay Watson sent ex-officer Harry Miller over 1.2K messages over 18 months
  • Watson targeted Miller due to his views about gender identity, a panel was told

A trans police officer who trolled a free speech campaigner online branding him a women beater and a Nazi has been sacked.

Lynsay Watson, 56, sent former police officer Harry Miller more than 1,200 messages over an 18-month period in which she also described him as a Fascist and a bigot and labelled his campaign group Fair Cop 'domestic terrorists'.

PC Watson targeted Mr Miller because his views about gender identity were 'in direct contradiction to her own' a police misconduct panel was told on Friday.

In the messages she made 'factual assertions that Mr Miller was violent towards women'.

She also described broadcaster Sonia Poulton as Terf (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) - intended to be a derogatory term.

The panel heard she initially sent messages from an account in which she identified herself as a police officer - prompting Mr Miller to complain about her conduct to Leicestershire police.

But when she was spoken to by a senior officer - he simply advised her to post anonymously instead using a pseudonym, the panel was told.

Lynsay Watson, 56, sent former police officer Harry Miller (pictured) more than 1,200 messages over an 18-month period
PC Watson targeted Mr Miller (second from left) because his views about gender identity were 'in direct contradiction to her own' a police misconduct panel was told on Friday. Pictured: Mr Miller outside the High Court, London in February 2020

She went on to set up at least four different accounts with fake names, including one in which she claimed to be a retired officer from another force as well as a Home Office adviser on policing and transgender issues with a masters in legal studies.

Watson, a former nurse, admitted gross misconduct but had denied breaching standards relating to honesty and integrity.

Force solicitor Liz Briggs, outlining the case against her, told the panel it was clear Watson and Mr Miller were at 'polar opposites' in their views about gender ideology.

She said Watson was 'entirely entitled to strongly disagree with Mr Miller and of course vice versa' but as a police officer, must treat the public with respect and courtesy.

She said the messages were 'derogatory and abusive' and there were other ways she could have expressed her views.

Mrs Briggs said even after she was warned about her conduct, Watson continued her activities online setting up a 'number of different accounts in an attempt to evade identification and in doing so she provided false information'.

Watson admitted the allegations and breaching standards of professional behaviour relating to standards of authority; respect and courtesy, orders and instructions and disreputable conduct.

She denied her conduct breached the standards of honesty and integrity, which relate to when she was challenged on Twitter about her identity and denied it was her and claimed to be a retired GMP officer and on another occasion said she was a woman called 'Paula' who had a masters degree in legal studies but this was found proven.

Mrs Briggs said her actions were 'intentional, deliberate targeted and planned'.

She added: 'An officer who is abusive towards individuals when their ideologies clash is undoubtedly going to cause significant harm to public confidence.'

Watson claimed she was acting on behalf of the persecuted LGBTQ community and posted anonymously to gather evidence about unknown officers who she believed were members of Fair Cop.

But panel chair Kate Meynell, Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire police, said that when considering the contents of the post it 'is not clear how they would be a way of gathering evidence'.

Ms Meynell said: 'I find that the officer's conduct does amount to gross misconduct. It was inevitable PC Watson's conduct would impact on the reputation of Leicestershire police and police generally.' She said she accepted that Watson had 'deeply held views on the subject'.

'I also accept that she has a right to set those views out and defend and debate them,' she said.

'However as a serving police officer this must be done in accordance with the standards of professional behaviour.

'In my view it is precisely when an officer is engaging in a public debate about something they care passionately about that they need to keep the standards and codes of ethics at the forefront of their mind.' She said Watson continued sending messages in the face of repeated warnings and said the content was 'not in keeping with debate: it is abusive, insulting and certainly discourteous'.

She said she also considered the frequency and number of messages and that members of the police force should 'not take any active part in politics'.

'That is the obligation the officer took on - in my view her conduct would interfere with her ability to impartially discharge her duties and certainly would give that impression to members of the public'.

Ms Meynell said her conduct 'had a significant effect on the reputation of the force,policing generally and our public trust..

'I am therefore of the view that the only proper outcome in this case is dismissal without notice and PC Watson should now be included on the bared list,' she concluded.

Watson's Police Federation representative DS Andy Spence said she had worked at two previous police force's where she had 'faced difficulties' and was not accepted but had been since joining Leicestershire police.

He said the Tweets came from 'somebody who is trying to stand up for her community to ensure they are protected and to ensure they are not subject to the same behaviour that she has faced in her past'.

Mr Miller, a former officer in Humberside who was investigated after he Tweeted a gender critical poem, said afterwards: 'PC Watson appears to me to be the product of a culture within Leicestershire Constabulary which consistently promotes the politically contested ideology of trans identity through the raising of flags, its presence on Pride marches, and its use of the Pride and trans flag symbols on riot shields. It continues to do this in spite of Home Office advice to the contrary.

'PC Watson's actions must be set against this culturally poisonous backdrop, and some leniency should be afforded as a result.'

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