Met officers joked about raping women, police watchdog reveals | metropolitan police

He metropolitan police have denied the force is plagued by a culture of misogyny after an official report revealed shocking details of officers sharing messages about beating and raping women, as well as the deaths of black babies and the Holocaust.

The officers were mainly concentrated at Charing Cross police station in the center Londonwith the criminal conduct occurring between 2016 and 2018.

Home Secretary Priti Patel singled out culture at the Met as a persistent problem, with a government source telling The Guardian: “We’re not going to let them off the hook” amid concerns from advocacy groups. women that this is exactly what will happen. happen.

The conduct, including messages about violence against the public, amounted to intimidation and harassment, the Independent Office for Police A behavior watchdog (IOPC) was found.

The messages were shared among a group of up to 19 officers, with hate-filled and offensive comments part of a Met culture that needed to be stamped out, the IOPC said, with fear stifling the complaints and officers believing bosses weren’t telling them. they would not take seriously or protect them. them from retaliation.

The Home Secretary has already ordered an investigation chaired by Dame Elish Angiolini after a Met officer used his police powers to kidnap, rape and murder Sarah Everard.

Patel said: “It has been clear for some time now that there are problems with the culture of the Metropolitan Police, which is why last year I commissioned the Angiolini inquiry and the police inspectorate to look into these deeply concerning issues.”

But the Home Secretary is facing legal action to force a tougher investigation, with women’s groups and experts pointing to case after case where women suffer at the hands of the police who are supposed to protect them.

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The Center for Women’s Justice wants the government investigation to be empowered to gather evidence and look for the deeper reasons, such as alleged misogyny, for the repeated scandals.

The CWJ’s Dabaleena Dasgupta said: “You need to look at the broader issues why these cases continue to occur, which we believe is rooted in misogyny in the police. Charing Cross is just the latest example of this.”

The IOPC published extensive and shocking details of messages shared by Met officials via WhatsApp or Facebook. Examples of offensive messages include:

  • An officer wrote to a female officer: “I would happily rape you… if I were single… if I were single, I would happily chloroform you.”

  • Another officer advocated for violence: “Getting a woman to bed is like spreading butter. It can be done with a bit of effort using a credit card, but it’s faster and easier to just use a knife.”

  • Police officers wrote about attending a festival dressed as known sex offenders and an abused child.

  • “Numerous messages about rape and mutual ‘rape’” were sent in two WhatsApp groups and one Facebook group.

  • One officer texted another saying he was going to attack his partner and wrote: “I swear I [sic] I’m going to slap her.”

  • Another post shows an officer bragging about visiting a sex worker when she was on steroids.

The Met denied that misogyny was a factor, and a spokesperson said: “We do not believe there is a culture of misogyny at the Met. There are a number of recommendations in the report that we will consider before formally responding to the IOPC.”

A spokesperson added that the Met is “an organization of more than 44,000 people; there will be a small number with attitudes and beliefs that are not welcome at the Met; we will challenge, educate and discipline as appropriate.”

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The IOPC said officers who knew of the messages were afraid to challenge or report them, and those who did were “harassed, humiliated and ostracized.” Challenging sexual harassment led to additional problems.

“The women officers told us that they would be treated as ‘tired women’, that it was part of police culture, that they had to accept, ‘play the game or keep quiet’ or leave. We also obtained evidence that sexual harassment complaints were not handled sensitively within the MPS. [Metropolitan police service].”

Messages sent between officers threatened those thinking of breaking the silence, including: “There are some of those bastards I’d like to stab.”

The IOPC said the messages displayed attitudes that scared ethnic minorities and female staff and could show officers discriminating against their colleagues and staff. The officers also shared a series of racist messages.

These included: “PWPEHCLM – The lives of people with pre-existing heart conditions matter. I should have offered him a KitKat and a good rest. Killer pussies” and “Bring on all the lefties, I say, we can sing ‘cum by ya’ and embrace our multi-gender/ethnic and sexual origins while denouncing all the fascists at the Met”.

There were also messages containing abuses against Muslims and people with disabilities.

The IOPC said the behavior was part of an offensive Met police culture, not just rogue individuals. “We believe that these incidents are not isolated or simply the behavior of some ‘bad apples.'”

The watchdog added: “The culture of bullying appears to have been accepted and not challenged. One reason for not reporting such behavior was a lack of confidence that it would be dealt with effectively and fear of repercussions. In one case, the supervisor who had a relationship with the person making the reports did not address the bullying complaints effectively or promptly.”

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Of 14 officers investigated, two were fired for serious misconduct. Misconduct was proven against two others, with one officer receiving a written warning, while four others faced measures to improve their performance.

Bas Javid, the Met’s deputy assistant commissioner, said he was “angry and disappointed,” felt “disgust and shame,” adding: “It’s clear we have a lot of work to do to ensure that bullying and discrimination don’t exist anywhere.” . of the Met.

“We recognize that there is a need for real change at the Met.”

The IOPC said it reviewed thousands of messages and some officials tried to defend them by claiming they were “jokes”, an excuse that was not accepted.

IOPC’s Sal Naseem said: “The relationship between police and the public is critical to upholding the principle of policing by consent. The behavioral and cultural concerns addressed in our report, if allowed to continue unchallenged, risk doing serious damage to that relationship.”

Confident that the Met falters, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “What has been revealed by these investigations will only further damage the public’s trust in the police.”

Ruth Davison, CEO of Refuge, said:Not only have the Metropolitan Police been caught again using horrible and misogynistic language, but some officers seem to boast of having committed domestic abuse themselves.

“Strong action must be taken and the police must get rid of their culture of violent misogyny.”