A FORMER Avon and Somerset Police constable alleged to have shared images of a dead man on WhatApps has been charged with three counts of misconduct in a public office.

Lewis Wood, 42, of Bridgwater, is accused of distributing images and videos from police investigations on WhatsApp to family and friends.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has authorised charging him in relation to alleged wilful sharing of policing material between December 2018 and August 2020, which would amount to an abuse of the public’s trust.

Wood will appear before Bristol Magistrates’ Court tomorrow (Tuesday, October 24).

He is no longer employed by Avon and Somerset Police or any other police service.

At the time of the alleged offences, he was based in Somerset.

His employment with Avon and Somerset ended in 2021.

Assistant Chief Constable Joanne Hall said: “We’d like to reassure the public that since these allegations came to light, we have conducted a thorough investigation, culminating in a case file being presented to the CPS and these serious charges being brought.

“A referral was made to the Independent Office for Police Conduct at the outset, who adjudged it was suitable for local investigation by our Counter Corruption Unit.

"The charges relate to the alleged distribution of images and videos on WhatsApp to family and friends by a now-former officer while he served for Avon and Somerset Police.

"They encompass several incidents or investigations and one of the charges relates to the alleged sharing of images of a deceased male.

“We are ensuring all those affected by these allegations are updated and we’ll be supporting them as we recognise the news is likely to cause an immense amount of hurt and pain.

“It is important every defendant is given the right to a fair trial and therefore we’d urge all members of the public to avoid the publication of any material or commentary that could prejudice the forthcoming legal proceedings.”