Met Police: Officers dismissed over ‘racist, sexist’ offensive WhatsApps
More than 6,000 messages including racist, homophobic and derogatory remarks were found.
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Six serving and former police officers have been found to have sent inappropriate and offensive messages in a WhatsApp group dating back to 2019.
Two officers were dismissed without notice from the Met and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC), while four ex-officers from the Met and Norfolk Police would have been dismissed.
More than 6,000 messages including racist, homophobic and derogatory remarks aimed at domestic abuse victims, people with disabilities and women were seen, the IOPC said.
Messages on the chat group - nicknamed ‘Bottles and Stoppers’ - included:
- Comments about starving African children eating flies;
- References to “filthy Feltham” in the context of the area’s diversity;
- “Grooming” of young foreign girls by buying them prawn balls;
- Tasering of children and animals and the use of offensive slurs;
- The comment “they only have to say yes once” in reference to rape or sexual assault;
- And a remark about “dodgy” showers at Auschwitz.
The messages were exchanged by the officers while they were serving with the Met Police.
All were accused of sending inappropriate, offensive messages, being part of a WhatsApp group used to exchange them, and failing to report or challenge messages they received.
The disciplinary panel found the cases were proven against PCs Gary Bailey, from the Met, and Matthew Forster, from the CNC, who were dismissed without notice.
While ex-Met PCs Joel Borders, Jonathon Cobban and William Neville and former Norfolk Police constable Daniel Comfort, would also have been dismissed if they were still in a job.
They were all found to have breached police standards of professional behaviour for discreditable conduct; authority, respect and courtesy; challenging and reporting improper conduct; and equality and diversity.
All of them apart from PC Forster, who is under different regulations, will be on the College of Policing barred list preventing them from future employment with the police service.
Sal Naseem, from the IOPC, said: “The views expressed by these officers do not belong in a civilised society and as we have said before, social media cannot be a hiding place for them whether on a public platform or as part of a private group.
“Behaviour of this kind undermines public confidence in policing and the dismissal rulings by the panel today send out a strong message that it will not be tolerated.
“We will continue to ensure, along with police forces, that this type of behaviour is rooted out and those responsible are held to account for their actions.”
The IOPC investigation began following a referral from the Met in April 2021, followed by referrals from Norfolk Police and the CNC in July and August 2021.
All the officers involved had previously worked for CNC but had transferred to the MPS when the messages were sent.
Investigators at the watchdog completed their inquiries in December 2021, and found a case to answer for gross misconduct for all six officers.
Evidence was referred to the CPS and former PCs Borders and Cobban were convicted of sending grossly offensive messages under the Communications Act.
They were given 12-week custodial sentences last month but bailed pending an appeal.