Thomas Woods: police officer who had indecent images of children sacked and barred from policing

Thomas Woods has been sacked and banned from the police after he received a suspended prison sentence at Manchester Crown Court for making and possessing indecent images.

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A Greater Manchester police officer who received a suspended prison sentence for making and possessing indecent images of children has been sacked and banned from policing.

A misconduct hearing concluded that Thomas Woods should be dismissed without notice and prevented from ever trying to rejoin the profession.

Woods was still serving in Greater Manchester Police’s (GMP) Salford district when he was arrested in December 2021 and he was subsequently given a suspended jail sentence at Manchester Crown Court after pleading guilty to a string of offenses involving indecent imagery, many of them featuring children.

The force said Woods’ actions were “reprehensible” and he had brought policing into disrepute and damaged public confidence in officers.

Why has Thomas Woods been sacked from the police?

A misconduct hearing took place at force headquarters on Tuesday 14 February to discuss what should happen to Woods in relation to his role as a police officer. Woods did not attend the hearing.

It was decided that he should be dismissed without notice from GMP and also placed on the College of Policing Barred List.

Woods was a serving police officer for GMP in Salford district when he was arrested in December 2021. After receiving information about potential indecent images, officers attended his home address and seized two phones and a laptop. Following extensive forensic examination, police recovered over 1,000 indecent images, many of which showed sexual acts involving children, over a 10-year period.

Woods made no comment in interview but went on to plead guilty to the offences at court.

He was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court on 28 July 2022 for being in possession of indecent images of children, making indecent images, possessing prohibited Images of children and possession of extreme pornographic images.

He was sentenced to 16 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 24 months, given a rehabilitation activity requirement, an unpaid work requirement, a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for five years and told he must sign the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years. He was also ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.

What have police said about Thomas Woods?

Greater Manchester Police chief constable Stephen Watson said: “It is a very powerful principle that officers should preserve public confidence and the seriousness of the misconduct found in terms of professional behaviour means he has been dismissed without notice.

“Woods has committed very serious criminal offences. His acts were deliberate, unforced and unlawful, and also morally irreprehensible.

“He brings the profession into disrepute and damages the confidence the public has in police officers. We have to maintain public confidence and this will, of course, diminish that due the level of seriousness.

“Woods’ conduct could not be further removed from what a police officer should be. He is a sexual offender and completely forfeited the trust of the public. He will stand perpetually unforgiven by officers and staff whose acts of decency will be tainted.”

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