AN Avon and Somerset police officer is to face a misconduct meeting following social media investigations linked to Sarah Everard's killer.

The unnamed officer is one of a number of officers from five different forces facing misconduct proceedings after two separate investigations by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) into social media messages related to former police constable Wayne Couzens.

The meeting involving the Avon and Somerset officer will be carried out by his own force at a date to be determined.

The precise nature of the accusations against the officer have not been revealed, but he is alleged to have breached the professional standards of behaviour for conduct, authority, respect and courtesy.

Of officers who were investigated:

an off duty probationary officer with the Metropolitan Police is said to have shared with colleagues a WhatsApp graphic depicting violence against women intended to be in reference to the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard. The officers will have a misconduct meeting;

another probationary officer is accused of sharing the graphic and failing to challenge it and will also have a misconduct meeting;

a constable - who will undergo 'reflective practice' rather than a misconduct meeting - failed to report the graphic and instead forwarded it to two people seeking their advice on what to do about it;

a Dorset officer posted details of an interview given by Couzens under caution which were presented during a non-reportable court hearing. That officer faces a more serious allegation of gross misconduct.

Evidence gathered during the IOPC's six-month investigation also indicated that officers from other forces had joined in the conversation, endorsing comments made by others and making unprofessional remarks about Couzens.

Among them was the Avon and Somerset officer and one from Sussex Police, against whom misconduct has not been proved - instead he will undergo 'a reflective practice review' in respect of the messages that had been sent and the tone of the conversation.

The IOPC investigation found no case to answer for a further four officers who were members of the chat group.

IOPC regional director Sal Naseem said: “In April this year we warned about the unacceptable use of social media by officers based on a number of cases involving the posting of offensive and inappropriate material.

“We wrote to the National Police Chiefs Council, asking them to remind forces and officers of their obligations under the police Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Behaviour.

“The allegations involved in these two investigations, if proven, have the capacity to further undermine public confidence in policing. They also once more illustrate the potential consequences for officers and come at a time when policing standards and culture have never been more firmly in the spotlight.”

The IOPC is continuing to investigate the conduct of five officers from three forces and one former officer who allegedly sent discriminatory messages as part of a WhatsApp group between March and October 2019. The messages were recovered from an old mobile phone discovered during the police investigation into Ms Everard’s murder.