Two Metropolitan Police officers have been sacked after sharing “abhorrent and discriminatory” messages in a Whatsapp group chat, including a racist joke about Meghan Markle, in 2018.
PCs Sukhdev Jeer and Paul Hefford's actions were deemed to amount to gross misconduct at a tribunal today (July 1).
The offensive posts, including one comparing the Duchess of Sussex to a Golliwog doll, were deemed “discriminatory and serious in nature”.
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The tribunal heard how the officers failed to challenge or report the messages.
The officers had worked in a unit at Bethnal Green police station in East London.
Chairman Maurice Cohen said that "dismissal is the only appropriate action" and slammed the posts as "highly corrosive and discriminatory" to members of the public "including those in the local community" they served.
He also noted how the posts took place “over an extended period of time” and that the officers “should have been aware” of their “unacceptable nature”.
He added: “[They] should have been aware these posts were overtly racist, ableist and sexist.”
The ruling means the officers cannot be employed by any police forces in the UK.
Former PC Richard Hammond's messages, which were also assessed at the tribunal, were deemed to amount to misconduct rather than gross misconduct.
PC Jeer was described as the “most active contributing member” of the group chat who sent a series of “highly discriminatory and offensive” messages.
They included the picture of the Golliwog doll captioned: “A sneak preview at Meghan’s wedding dress.”
Another of his posts read: “Everyone is so politically correct these days.
“You can’t even say, ‘Black paint,’ you have to say, ‘Tyrone can you please paint that wall?’”
Pc Jeer told the hearing he was “not in a good place” at the time.
Barrister Ben Summers described him as a “long-serving” member of the Met, adding that he should not be dismissed over a “handful of inappropriate jokes” which caused “limited harm”.
Mr Cohen said: “In respect of culpability, PC Jeer’s content lacked thought and consideration.”
The tribunal heard that PC Hefford posted an image of two black men lying next to two white women, captioned: “Girls’ trip to Jamaica. One came back pregnant, the other came back with syphilis. (Just kidding, they’re both still missing.)”
Representing him, Michael Shaw said PC Hefford found his posts “embarrassing and difficult” and that he'd learned a “sad lesson”.
He added: “Simply sacking him won’t restore public confidence in the Met.”
Mr Cohen said PC Hefford had been “lacking in insight and remorse” and added: “These standards fell seriously short of those expected of a Metropolitan Police officer.”
Former officer Hammond was said to have sent a “discriminatory message” about the London borough of Tower Hamlets.
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Vishal Misra, representing the Met, told the hearing: “The panel has found the postings were abhorrent and discriminatory in nature and the damage it has done to public confidence is substantial and far-reaching.
“They have shown little by the way of remorse and contrition, minimising and deflecting what had been said to excuse behaviour rather than explain.”
Chief Superintendent Marcus Barnett, who leads Central East, slammed the “repulsive behaviour” and said the men were “rightfully” sacked.
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