Councillor forced out after 'sick joke' about dead police officers
A DERBYSHIRE councillor has been removed from his post after making disparaging remarks about two police officers shot dead in Manchester.
Councillor David Stephenson made a joke about PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes who died last week in a gun and grenade attack.
He made the comment in front of the wife of a serving police sergeant who was upset by what he said and told her husband.
Her husband, who lives in Ilkeston and serves with Nottinghamshire police, claimed Mr Stephenson had said: "If you get 100 points for shooting one police woman and 200 points for shooting two police women, how many do you get for shooting a lawyer?"
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Mr Stephenson admitted he made the remarks, which he regretted.
He said: "It was a tasteless comment or sick joke that someone makes off the cuff for which I apologise. I have always been an enthusiast for banning what I term 'short weapons' which includes pistols and sawn-off shotguns.
"I am totally against the use of guns in any shape or form and no-one should have been exposed to them in the way that those two lady police officers were."
Mr Stephenson said he made the comment because he saw the women smoking outside a council office, and he is very anti-smoking.
The officer, Sergeant Jason Farrar, said he called Mr Stephenson to confront him about the joke and claims he was told to "go away you silly man".
The officer contacted Derbyshire police federation, MP Jessica Lee and Erewash Borough Council leader Chris Corbett to complain about Mr Stephenson's remarks.
Councillor Corbett said: "I was appalled to learn of the words used by Councillor Stephenson to a lady who unbeknown to him was the wife of a serving police officer.
"I have taken immediate and severe action by removing him from his post as a lead member of the council and he will no longer serve on the council executive. It is not possible to remove him as a borough councillor as he has been elected by residents in his constituency.
"However, his name has been removed from the list of approved Conservative candidates and he will not be allowed to stand for re-election.
"As regards to his position as a member of the Conservative Group, there are rules which have to be followed, however disciplinary procedures have already begun.
"I support the police completely in the difficult job they do serving our communities and want residents to know that the words used by Councillor Stephenson do not reflect the opinions of the Conservative Party."