Senior Local Police Officer Found Dead

Richard Watkinson was under investigation over child abuse images

Chief Inspector Richard Watkinson
Chief Inspector Richard Watkinson

January 20, 2023

A senior local police officer serving with the West Area command has been found dead at his home.

Chief Inspector Richard Watkinson, was suspended from duty following his arrest by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) last July. His body was found last Thursday (12 January) on the day he was due to report to a station as part of his bail conditions.

The 49-year-old was being investigated after indecent images of children were found at his home. Items were discovered at his house in Buckinghamshire including pictures described as ranking at ‘the upmost severity’. He had allegedly installed a secret-trap door at the property which led to a hidden part of the house which contained computer equipment on which the images were found.

The IOPC passed on the investigation to specialist officers at the Met.

The Sun newspaper has reported that he was about to face charges in connection with allegations that he had links to a network of online paedophiles. Two other men, neither of them police officers. were charged last week with similar offences and are due to appear in court shortly.

A spokesperson for the Met said, "Met officers attended an address in Buckinghamshire on the afternoon of Thursday, 12 January following welfare concerns and found the body of man in his 40s.

"While Thames Valley Police are dealing with this matter, we can confirm the man was a serving Met officer, based at the West Area Command Unit."

Officially, the police are describing the death as unexplained and further tests are being carried out to establish the cause of death.

The West Area Basic Command Unit covers Ealing, Hillingdon and Hounslow and Chief Inspector Watkinson often served as its public face, fronting up press conferences and attending public meetings.

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