former Metropolitan Police officer made derogatory comments about Katie Price’s son in a WhatsApp group
A former Metropolitan Police officer made derogatory comments about Katie Price’s son in a WhatsApp group with other officers which contained sustained discriminatory content, a misconduct hearing has heard.
It is alleged that eight serving and former officers attached to the South East Command Unit used a WhatsApp group, entitled “Secret Squirrel Shit”, between May 2016 and June 2018 to post comments that were sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic and “applauded sexual violence against women”.
Former Ps Luke Thomas, former acting Ps Luke Allen, former Pc Kelsey Buchan, former Pc Carlo Francisco, former Pc Lee South, former Pc Darren Jenner, Pc Glynn Rees, and Officer B, who has been granted anonymity, faced a gross misconduct hearing at Empress State Building in Fulham, west London, on Tuesday.
All eight officers are subject to three allegations and are said to have breached standards of professional behaviour in relation to equality and diversity, authority, respect and courtesy, challenging and reporting improper conduct and discreditable conduct.
The first allegation concerns comments and posts made by officers in the WhatsApp group, the second relates to comments about a female colleague, Officer A, and the third is in relation to the officers failing to report the content.
Thomas, who was the highest ranking officer in the WhatsApp group, faces an additional allegation of failing to adequately supervise his team and legitimising the “derisory chat” as team sergeant.
As a result, he is further accused of breaching standards of professional behaviour in relation to duties and responsibilities.
Only Rees and Officer B attended the hearing on Tuesday.
Daniel Hobbs, representing the police, detailed specific comments made by Thomas, the most senior officer at the time.
The former sergeant accepted the comments he made were forms of misconduct that accumulatively amounted to gross misconduct, the panel heard.
Thomas made several posts about Price’s son Harvey, who suffers from Prader–Willi syndrome and autism.
The 44-year-old model and TV personality shared an image of a letter detailing the misconduct on her Instagram story on Friday.
In the letter, which was addressed to Price and dated January 26, an investigator from the Discrimination Investigation Unit within the Professional Standards Department of the Met Police informed her that “a number of Metropolitan Police officers are alleged to have breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour in regards to Discreditable Conduct for being part of a WhatsApp group chat that has posted inappropriate and derogatory images of your son, Harvey Price”.
The disciplinary panel heard that Thomas referred to Harvey in the WhatsApp group and mocked his weight.
Mr Hobbs further detailed comments Thomas made about Officer A, a junior female officer who was assigned to their team for a period of time, calling her “f****** ugly”.
Thomas also referred to Officer A as “it”, the panel heard.
In a separate conversation, Thomas suggested to the WhatsApp group that he name his dog “Auschwitz”, “Adolf” or “Fred” or “Ian” after “my two favourite child sex killers”.
In response to the comments, the panel heard that Thomas acknowledged that they were inappropriate.
Mr Hobbs also outlined comments made in the WhatsApp group in general.
Officers allegedly referred to disabled people as “retards” and “spastics” and called wheelchairs “mong scooters”.
In another conversation, one of the officers referred to a male police officer who “once got away with rape” and said he was “a legend in my eyes”, the panel heard.
Mr Hobbs said the officers fostered a “toxic, abhorrent culture” and that their actions are so serious as to justify dismissal.
Three former officers – Thomas, Allen and South admit gross misconduct for all allegations.
Former officer Francisco admits gross misconduct for the first allegation and misconduct for the other two.
Serving officer Rees and former officer Buchan admit misconduct for all allegations.
Officer B denies the first allegation and admits misconduct for the second and third allegation.
Former PC Jenner has not engaged with the misconduct hearing and the police have taken that to mean he does not admit either misconduct nor gross misconduct.
Published: by Radio NewsHub