• Saturday, April 13, 2024

News

Six police officers and an ex-officer face probe over ‘offensive’ WhatsApp messages

All seven have been intimated regarding the investigation for potential gross misconduct.

Representative image (iStock)

By: Pramod Thomas

UK police watchdog has started a criminal investigation against six serving police officers and a former officer over ‘discriminatory, derogatory or pornographic’ messages on a WhatsApp group, according to reports.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has launched the probe against five officers serving with the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC), a former CNC officer who now works for another force and an ex-CNC officer, it is learnt.

All seven have been intimated regarding the investigation for potential gross misconduct.

The CNC is in charge of protecting civil nuclear sites and nuclear materials in England and Scotland.

“The allegations against these officers and a former officer are extremely serious and concerning. On conclusion of our investigation we will decide whether the matters should be referred to the Crown Prosecution Service, whose role it is to determine whether criminal charges will follow,” said IOPC regional director Catherine Bates.

“As this work is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

The watchdog has not provided more details regarding the investigation.

CNC chief constable Simon Chesterman said that the investigation must remain a ‘fair and independent process’.

“This is the latest in a number of cases where serving or former police officers are accused of displaying offensive and discriminatory behaviour, which damages public trust in policing and the credibility of the police service,” Chesterman is reported to have said.

“Those who hold and display racist, sexist, misogynistic, homophobic or any other views that are discriminatory have no place in the police service and they will be rooted out.”

On Thursday (6), the Met police arrested a man in his 60s on suspicion of offences under the Communications Act and misconduct in a public office. He was later released on bail.

Earlier this week, a Home Office immigration official was suspended for posting racist messages on WhatsApp. He was a former officer with the Met.

Following the incident, Met chief Sir Mark Rowley has launched a new anti-corruption unit to root out ‘criminal colleagues’.

Last month, a serving Met officer and a former colleague were convicted of sending  ‘misogynistic and racist’ messages in a WhatsApp group called “Bottle and Stoppers” with Sarah Everard’s killer Wayne Couzens.

Currently, Couzens is serving a whole-life sentence for the kidnap, rape, and murder of Everard in March 2021, when he was working in the Met.

Reports confirmed that the latest investigation is unrelated to Couzens, who worked for the CNC from March 2011 to September 2018.

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