One of Scotland Yard’s most senior black female officers has been charged with possessing indecent images of a child.
Superintendent Robyn Williams, 54, a widely respected trailblazer and role model in the police following the Stephen Lawrence murder case, is facing an uncertain future after being accused of having ‘a moving image file of Category A severity’.
Category A is the most serious level of child abuse images. Supt Williams has also been charged with one count of ‘corrupt/improper exercise of police powers and privileges by a constable in failing to report the distribution of that image’.
Superintendent Robyn Williams leads passing out Parade in parade square in Hendon, north London
In an unusual case, the senior officer with a highly distinguished career has been charged over a video she received as part of a group message sent on social media. Two other people, not police officers, have also been charged in connection with the case.
Colleagues of £80,000-a-year Supt Williams, who was appointed borough commander for the south London borough of Sutton in 2017, were left stunned after learning she had been charged with career-threatening offences. A source said she ‘vehemently denies’ the allegations and would fight to clear her name.
Detectives launched an investigation into Supt Williams after a member of the public reported to police on February 4 last year that they had been sent an indecent video of a child.
As a result, two people were arrested on suspicion of possessing and distributing an indecent image of a child and subsequently released under investigation. The Metropolitan Police’s Directorate of Professional Standards was then made aware of allegations relating to Supt Williams, who it was claimed had received the video in the group message. She was interviewed under caution by officers in March last year. The Independent Office for Police Conduct is conducting a separate misconduct inquiry into her.
Before joining the Metropolitan Police in 2008, Supt Williams was the first black woman to be promoted to sergeant and then inspector in Nottinghamshire Police. She has been awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for distinguished service in the ‘pursuance of fairness and good police and community race relations’.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan with Superintendent Robyn Williams, deputy head of training at the Metropolitan Police Service, during the force’s first passing-out parade on the redeveloped grounds at the Peel Centre in Hendon, north London
She is a former general secretary and founder member of the National Black Police Association and also former chairman and founder member of the Nottinghamshire Black Police Association. She also sat on the Home Secretary’s working group overseeing the implementation of the recommendations of the Stephen Lawrence public inquiry, after the teenager was stabbed to death in a racist attack.
A hugely popular figure in the Metropolitan Police, she is seen in pictures on her Twitter account rubbing shoulders with London mayor Sadiq Khan, ex-Scotland Yard Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe and former Home Secretary Amber Rudd.
In a local newspaper interview in November 2017, weeks after she took over as Sutton commander, she revealed details of her work in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire earlier that year.
She recalled: ‘It has been one of the most emotionally charged and challenging experiences of my life but I have seen and had the privilege to share space with some of the most extraordinary individuals and communities.’
A Scotland Yard spokesman said last night: ‘Three people, including a serving Metropolitan Police officer, have been charged in connection with an investigation into indecent images of a child. Supt Williams was placed on restricted duties while the investigation was ongoing.’
The senior officer with a highly distinguished career has been charged over a video she received as part of a group message sent on social media