England

Police officer 'not racist' for using black monkey toy

Thames Valley Police HQ in Kidlington Image copyright Low Carbon Oxford
Image caption The misconduct hearing was held at Thames Valley Police's Kidlington headquarters

A counter-terrorism officer was not being racist when he put a monkey toy on a black colleague's desk, a disciplinary panel has found.

Det Sgt Andrew Mottau was cleared of gross misconduct, but was told he should have realised the animal could be perceived as offensive.

He will now receive management advice - the lowest form of disciplinary action.

The woman who brought the complaint said he used the toy to signal whose turn it was to make tea and coffee.

She told a Thames Valley Police misconduct hearing she felt "shocked and offended" after it was placed on her desk in August when she came back from leave.

Det Sgt Mottau was alleged to have told her to make him cups of tea "when the black monkey starts to sing" and she said his behaviour had "racist undertones".

'Skilled investigator'

But his defence team said he was a "professional and measured man" who had been unfairly targeted.

The panel found him guilty of misconduct, but concluded that the monkey toy was used in an innocent way to share out the tea-making duties among the team at the South East Counter-Terrorism Unit.

They also decided the woman at the centre of the case, who has not been named, had an unwillingness to participate in the tea round, and the phrase "black monkey" was not used in the office.

The woman, who was the only black person in the team at the time, had known Det Sgt Mottau for more than 20 years.

Det Sgt Mottau was described as "a highly skilled investigator" who never displayed bullying or racist behaviour.

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