Revealed: Sickening text messages Met Police officers sent joking about rape
Vile messages sent by Metropolitan Police officers have been revealed after an investigation uncovered evidence of a culture of racism, homophobia and misogyny among the ranks.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct launched Operation Hotton in 2018 after an officer was accused of having sex with a drunk person inside the now-closed Charing Cross station, claims which were later found to be unproven.
The revelations follow a series of damning events that have placed pressure on Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, who has been heavily criticised over her handling of the Partygate scandal in recent weeks that have led to accusations of a stitch-up.
Last year, Dick was urged to quit after a report into the force's "corrupt" response to the murder of Daniel Morgan in 1987.
And a year ago, the Met came under heavy criticism over the murder of Sarah Everard at the hands of a serving police officer and the subsequent heavy-handed response to a vigil in her honour during lockdown.
Labour MP Diane Abbott said today that Dick was "clearly not fit to lead the fundamental reform needed".
The latest probe detailed the “disgraceful” behaviour of officers in the station between 2016 and 2018, and uncovered offensive messages which were highly sexualised, discriminatory or referred to violence.
The messages were defended as "banter".
Nine of the officers investigated still serve in the Met Police, while another is working as a contractor in a staff role.
The police watchdog took the unusual step of publishing the exact contents of the messages in full, although some messages are too offensive to print in full.
Jokes about Auschwitz and Muslims were made by serving officers, and the watchdog warned the "incidents are not isolated or simply the behaviour of a few bad apples”.
There were also multiple references to raping and beating women.
Read more: An occasional bad ’un? Three Met Police officers have been jailed in a month
Messages exchanged in two WhatsApp groups and one Facebook group included multiple references to sexual violence including, “I would happily rape you” and “if I was single I would happily chloroform you”.
In other discussions, one officer bragged that he had hit his girlfriend, and told a colleague: “It makes them love you more”, while another boasted that he had repeatedly slept with a prostitute who he met through work.
It also found that one of the officers at Charing Cross station in London was known as "McRapey Raperson" in a WhatsApp chat, over a rumour he had brought a woman to his workplace for sex, although another officer believed it was because he had a reputation for "harassing" women.
Homophobic language was also used and a number of racist messages including references to African children, Somali people and Auschwitz.
There were also references to Muslim fanatics and offensive terms for disabled people, and messages about police officers attending a festival dressed as known sex offenders and a molested child.
Crucially, the report found that officers felt unable to raise concerns about the language used for fear of being ostracised.
Messages were found including: “There’s a few of those grassing c**** I would like to knife”, “grassing is dirty” and “I’ve made it the no grassing no shit of anyone team… it’s my f****** baby”.
Fourteen officers were investigated by the IOPC, and two were found to have a case to answer for gross misconduct – one of whom resigned and one was sacked.
Read more: Met Police officer who secretly filmed women changing is jailed
Misconduct was proven against another two, one of whom received a written warning, while another four had internal measures to improve their performance.
Others to criticise Dick include former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal, who said: "The Met Police may be the worst for institutional misogyny and racism but they're not the only ones. Only a statutory judge-led inquiry will do. Only new leadership will do."
Jamie Kingler, co-founder of Reclaim the Streets, an organisation trying to reduce violence against women, said: "Just last week Cressida Dick said there was no institutional homophobia on her force. I’m calling b*******.
"The systemic sexism, racism and homophobia is rampant in the police and hiding in plain sight."
The damning findings come almost a year after the death of Sarah Everard, who was raped and murdered by then-serving police officer Wayne Couzens.
It also comes after three serving Met police officers were jailed in the space of a month where the victims were women.
Another Met Police officer was then jailed for hiding a camera and secretly recording women getting changed while posing as an airline pilot.
Deputy assistant commissioner Bas Javid said: “I am angry and disappointed to see officers involved in sharing sexist, racist and discriminatory messages. It’s clear we have a lot of work to do to ensure bullying and discrimination does not exist in any part of the Met.
“The actions of these officers between 2016 and 2018 were unacceptable, unprofessional, disrespectful and deeply offensive. I read their messages with increasing disgust and shame.
“We haven’t waited for the IOPC’s report to take action – a number of officers have been subject to misconduct proceedings, including one officer dismissed and one who would have been dismissed had he not already resigned.
“Every Met employee has also been spoken to about responsible use of social media.
“We recognise that there is need for real change in the Met and we are committed to creating an environment that is even more intolerant to those who do not uphold the high values and standards expected of us."