Manchester police boss sacked for downloading porn

Obscene Publications Unit didn't know a police boss was downloading porn

One of Britain's largest police forces has sacked a manager for downloading pornography on his computer and sexually harassing female colleagues.

John Williamson, 35, was dismissed from his job as deputy director of press and public affairs with Greater Manchester Police, after 7,000 pornographic images were found saved on the hard drive of his work computer in the force's headquarters.

Greater Manchester Police is home to one of the few Obscene Publications Units in the country. The specialist unit claims to have been unaware of the situation. According to a Guardian report, experts were brought in to examine material saved on Williamson's machine. "It would have been an internal investigation," said an officer from the Obscene Publications Unit.

The press and public relations department has issued a statement confirming the dismissal of a member of its branch following "a disciplinary hearing into allegations of serious misconduct", but is withholding any further details of the case.

The disciplinary hearing was told how Williamson was seen, by staff, to be looking at images of naked women on his monitor. The complaint came days after he was accused of putting his hand up a colleague's skirt, and repeatedly subjecting women in the force to sexually explicit language.

Williamson, who lives in Stockport, has denied all allegations, and is not thought to be facing criminal charges over the incidents. In September he played a key role in producing a 16-page guide called The Power of Language, which advised Manchester police officers on avoiding the use of offensive terms in the office, such as "love" and "pet".

Company policy typically bans downloading pornography, but sackings for Internet abuse have gained momentum in the UK, in recent months. At the beginning of this year, ten employees were sacked and 75 suspended at insurance company Royal and Sun Alliance (RSA) in Liverpool, for distributing "lewd email".

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