SIX former Metropolitan Police officers have been charged with sending grossly offensive racist messages on WhatsApp.
The officers shared offensive jokes in a group about flooding in Pakistan and made racist comments alongside photos of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Peter Booth, 66, Robert Lewis, 62, Anthony Elsom, 67, Alan Hall, 65, Michael Chadwell, 62, and Trevor Lewton, 65, have been charged with the offences under the Communications Act 2003.
The officers all retired between 2001 and 2015.
They made the offending comments in a group chat between August 2018 and September 2022.
The six men charged were not serving at any point during their participation in the group.
They served in various parts of the Met throughout their careers but all spent time in the Diplomatic Protection Group, now known as the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command.
They will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday,September 7.
It comes after dozens of the offending messages were passed on to the BBC's the Newsnight team.
Many of the messages were said to be too offensive to show and some reportedly contain the very strongest racial slurs.
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The corporation says the posts reference a number of topics, including the government’s Rwanda policy and the recent flooding in Pakistan which left nearly 1,700 people dead.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are also said to feature in some messages which include several memes, alongside racist language.
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.
“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.
“I hope the public will recognise that we are determined to take the necessary measures to investigate any wrongdoing wherever we find it.”
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