The notice of the disciplinary hearing stated that: “On 8th March 2019, knowing that another officer is Jewish, PS CJ062 Gary Jacobs deliberately dangled a pizza containing pepperoni over that officer’s food. A piece of pepperoni subsequently fell onto that officer’s food meaning they could not eat it [due to Jewish dietary practices prohibiting the consumption of meat from pigs].”
It is understood that the incident left the victim feeling “embarrassed”, “isolated” and “as if she was being mocked for her faith”.
Sergeant Jacobs, who is based in Crawley in West Sussex, appeared at the hearing at force headquarters in Lewes on Tuesday morning to answer allegations that his conduct amounted to a breach of the force’s Standards of Professional Behaviour in respect of equality and diversity.
Amy Clarke, for Sussex Police, said: “On any reading of this incident the conduct was utterly unacceptable and is much more serious than what might appear at first to be suggested by Sergeant Jacobs as a misguided attempt at humour. Sergeant Jacobs also knew she was Jewish and knew she maintained a kosher diet. Any modicum of common sense means you shouldn’t dangle pork over her food.” Ms Clarke added that it was not a “split second stupid decision” as Sergeant Jacobs had already been told about not contaminating the food.
Michael Salter, the chair of the panel, said: “This was an intentional act, it was deliberate, directed towards an individual and from an officer in a position of trust and responsibility,” adding that Sergeant Jacobs’ actions were “crass, insensitive and quite frankly stupid”.