Tory David Stephenson stripped of post after 'joke' about dead 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, said Mr Stephenson said: "If you get 100 points for shooting one policewoman and 200 points for shooting two policewomen, how many do you get for shooting a lawyer?"
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."
He 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.
Mr 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 to take effect immediately.
"It is not possible to remove him as a borough councillor as he has been elected to that position 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 (for the party).
"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 in any way the opinions of myself or the Conservative Party locally or nationally.
"As the father of a serving police officer myself, I am well aware of the hurt being suffered by the police at present and know the worries experienced by their families.
"I apologise for the great upset this matter has clearly caused to all those involved."
In his letter to Jessica Lee, Sergeant Farrar said: "On September 20, my wife returned from work at Erewash Borough Council upset over remarks made by Mr Stephenson. He started to tell, what he appears to think is, a joke which goes as follows:
'If you get 100 points for shooting one policewoman and 200 points for shooting two policewomen, how many do you get for shooting a lawyer?'
"He then laughed and walked away.
"My wife found it offensive and in extremely bad taste following the tragic deaths of two police officers in Manchester just two days ago.
"She found it even more distasteful as I am a serving police officer."
COMMENT: Off the scale of sick `humour'