In a shocking development, five former Metropolitan Police officers have admitted guilt in sending highly offensive racist messages via WhatsApp.
These disturbing messages, which also included derogatory remarks about the Duchess of Sussex, were initially brought to light by BBC Newsnight in October of the previous year.
The revelations about this WhatsApp group have further alleged that it contained remarks concerning the deadly floods in Pakistan, responsible for the loss of thousands of lives, as well as discussions about the possibility of sending migrants to Rwanda.
Guilty Pleas in Westminster Magistrates’ Court
At a hearing held at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Peter Booth, aged 66 and residing in Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, entered a guilty plea to four charges of disseminating grossly offensive racist messages via public communication.
Booth, who retired from the Metropolitan Police in April 2001, acknowledged his involvement in these abhorrent exchanges.
Robert Lewis, aged 62 and residing in Camberley, Surrey, admitted guilt on eight counts of sending grossly offensive racist messages via public communication.
Lewis’s career in the Met ended in May 2015, and he subsequently became a Home Office official before being dismissed for gross misconduct in the previous November, according to the government department’s records.
Anthony Elsom, aged 67 and residing in Bournemouth, Dorset, pleaded guilty to three charges of sending grossly offensive racist messages via public communication.
Elsom’s career with the Metropolitan Police concluded in May 2012.
Alan Hall, aged 65 and residing in Stowmarket, Suffolk, entered guilty pleas on three counts of sending grossly offensive racist messages via public communication.
Hall retired from the Met in June 2015.
Trevor Lewton, aged 65 and residing in Swansea, South Wales, pleaded guilty to one charge of sending grossly offensive racist messages via public communication.
He retired from the Metropolitan Police in August 2009.
Notably, these officers served in various capacities within the Met during their careers, with all of them having spent time in the Diplomatic Protection Group, now known as the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command.
Importantly, each of these individuals retired between the years 2001 and 2015.
A Call for Accountability and Rebuilding Trust
Following the charges brought against these former officers, Commander James Harman, who leads the Met’s Anti-Corruption and Abuse Command, expressed the Metropolitan Police’s commitment to addressing and rectifying such misconduct.
He acknowledged the erosion of public trust due to recent high-profile incidents involving officers and former officers and reiterated the force’s dedication to rebuilding this trust.
Harman stated, “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 recognize 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 behavior from the Met.
“I hope the public will recognize that we are determined to take the necessary measures to investigate any wrongdoing wherever we find it.”
This case underscores the importance of accountability and transparency within law enforcement agencies, especially when facing instances of misconduct by officers.