TWO Sussex police officers are under investigation for gross misconduct over a message sent from the scene of the Shoreham Airshow disaster.
The investigation relates to a ‘private message’ sent by two Brighton-based officers ‘new in service’ to a colleague, who immediately reported the pair to the force’s Professional Standards Department.
The families of the 11 victims have received apologies for what the force described as a ‘particularly upsetting’ allegation.
Sussex deputy chief constable Olivia Pinkney said: “I cannot emphasize how upset I am that we are investigating such an allegation.
“My colleagues have informed the victims’ families and apologised to them for the unnecessary distress it will undoubtedly cause them.
“They are disappointed as we all are. Such an allegation impacts on everyone who was affected by the crash and detracts from the professionalism of hundreds of colleagues who have worked so tirelessly on this operation.
“All our efforts are focused on providing the families with the answers they are looking for.”
The two officers have not been suspended but have been assigned to duties away from the public while they are being investigated.
Deputy chief constable Pinkney said: “I encourage my officers and staff to report any alleged behaviour that is below the standard expected, and that is what has happened here.
“We need to follow processes in relation to disciplinary matters.
“The officers, who are quite new in service, have not been suspended as I want them to work to earn their pay while this is investigated.
“In the meantime they have been assigned duties away from public contact.”
The disaster claimed the lives of 11 men when a Hawker Hunter vintage plane crashed into busy traffic on the A27 while performing a loop at the Shoreham Airshow on Saturday, August 22.