Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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Officers accused of sending racist, homophobic and misogynistic messages to face misconduct hearing

Five Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officers will face a police gross misconduct hearing after messages containing racist, misogynistic and homophobic content were uncovered on a mobile phone.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launched an investigation in January 2018 following a voluntary referral by the MPS after the messages were accidentally disclosed to third parties as part of a separate Surrey Police prosecution.

None of the officers were connected to the Surrey Police investigation, although one of the officers’ phones had been recovered as part of a search of a suspect’s premises. 

The messages exchanged between the officers date between 2009 and 2011 and contain language that could be considered to be offensive and, in some instances, an indication that the sender and or receiver holds discriminatory beliefs.

The mobile phone also contained videos and audio files made of policing interactions which may have been recorded on a personal device, of members of the public, without their knowledge or consent.

Lastly the phone contained messages that suggested that an officer may have sought to establish a personal relationship with a vulnerable member of the public who the officer knew was a victim of crime, and had met whilst on duty.

Our investigation concluded in June 2019 after which it was agreed with the MPS that five officers may have breached professional standards and those breaches, if proven, would be so serious as to constitute gross misconduct.

IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem yesterday said:

“Our investigation found evidence officers may have breached professional standards by sending inappropriate and offensive messages, calling into question their ability to impartially and properly discharge their duties. This type of behaviour has the potential to undermine the public’s confidence and trust in policing.

“We also found evidence that videos had been recorded of interactions between members of the public and police that may have been taken without any consent and for no proper policing purpose. I am also deeply concerned that one officer may have pursued an inappropriate relationship with a victim of crime.”

We found further evidence to suggest that a sixth officer had accessed a crime report on the instructions of a colleague for no policing purpose and had failing to report potential wrong-doing. We concluded the officer had a case to answer for misconduct and will attend a misconduct meeting.


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