‘Racist messages sent by Metropolitan Police officers on WhatsApp group’

The misconduct hearing was told content of the messages involved breaches of standards of professional behaviour (PA) (PA Wire)
The misconduct hearing was told content of the messages involved breaches of standards of professional behaviour (PA) (PA Wire)

Eight Met officers in a WhatsApp group called “secret squirrel s**t” exchanged racist, misogynistic and other discriminatory “messages, memes and videos” that were so serious they merit dismissal, a misconduct hearing was told.

The allegations include making derogatory comments about a female colleague and sending and receiving other “improper and discreditable” messages during exchanges between the officers from 2016 to 2018.

The misconduct hearing was told on Tuesday that the content of the messages involved breaches of standards of professional behaviour, including failures to comply with duties relating to equality and diversity, treating the public with respect and courtesy, and reporting improper conduct.

Dan Hobbs, the barrister representing the Met in its attempt to secure the dismissal of the officers, who were based at Bexley, said the group had exchanged “toxic” messages that were sexist, racist and homophobic and included derogatory references to the disabled mixed race son of the model Katie Price.

He said other messages included references to women as “silly slags” and “spunk rags” and that racist content included a description of a holiday resort as having “lots of black” as a “drawback” of going there.

Further discriminatory posts included more racist slurs and derogatory terms about disabled people.

One conversation mulled calling an officer’s dog after the notorious murderer Fred West.

Another message talked about an officer getting away with rape at the weekend as a “legend” and another showed a t-shirt with the slogan “once you go black you never go back” in a distasteful reference to the rape of a woman by a black man.

Six of the eight officers have already resigned from the force and there were a succession of admissions of guilt as the proceedings, which are due to last four days, started.

The panel was told that one, former PC Darren Jenner, had “not engaged” with proceedings at all and should be treated as if he had denied the allegations.

Christopher McKay, chairing a three-strong disciplinary panel which will decide the officers’ fate, said the fact that some of the accused had resigned “is not a way of removing themselves from the disciplinary process” and that the cases involved alleged misconduct so serious that it warranted dismissal.

Those accused of gross misconduct include two serving officers, PC Glynn Rees and an “Officer B”’ whose identity was being kept secret for unexplained reasons.

The others are former Sergeant Luke Thomas, former Acting Sergeant Luke Allen, former PC Kelsey Buchan, former PC Carlo Francisco, former PC Lee South, and former PC Jenner.

Mr Hobbs said that four of the former officers, Mr Thomas, Mr Allen, Mr Francisco and Mr South had admitted gross misconduct and should be treated as dismissed, despite their resignation from the force, and barred from any future service in the police.

He said the Met’s case was that the three officers who had only admitted misconduct, former PC Buchan and the still serving, Officer B and PC Rees, should also be found guilty of gross misconduct and barred from policing, along with the eighth officer, PC Jenner, who had not engaged with the proceedings.

Mr Hobbs said former Sergeant Thomas had also described Black Lives Matter protesters as “c***ts” and made the racist generalisation that people were a “thousand times for likely to be killed by a black guy than a copper”.

The hearing continues.