James Robinson, Sky News, August 15, 2023
Six former Metropolitan Police officers have been charged with sending “grossly offensive” racist messages on WhatsApp, the force said.
The officers, who retired between 2001 and 2015, have been charged by post under the Communications Act.
The men worked in various parts of the Metropolitan Police throughout their careers – but were not serving at the time of the alleged offences.
They all spent time in the Diplomatic Protection Group, now known as the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command.
The charges follow an investigation by the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards, which was launched following coverage by the BBC’s Newsnight programme in October last year.
The Metropolitan Police say during the investigation it was found that inappropriate communications were shared within a closed WhatsApp group from August 2018 until September 2022.
Police say the six men charged were not serving during their participation in the group.
They are due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 7 September.
Commander James Harman, who leads the Met’s Anti-Corruption and Abuse Command, said: “As soon as we were made aware of these allegations, we acted to launch an investigation.
“I am pleased that following the determined work of officers, we have been able to secure these charges.
“We are working relentlessly to rebuild the trust of the public which has understandably been dented by a number of high profile incidents and investigations in recent years which have involved officers or former officers.”
He added: “The honest majority of Met officers are fully behind this work.
“They are tired of being let down by a minority in policing and they are aware of the damage poor behaviour can do to our relationship with the communities we serve.
“I recognise announcements about the outcome of our investigations may have the potential to cause further public concern, but I hope it demonstrates our absolute commitment to investigate any corrupt and abusive behaviour from the Met.”