Suffolk man among retired Met Police officers sentenced for racist messages in WhatsApp group

Credit: PA

A former Metropolitan Police officer has been given a suspended sentence for sending racist messages on WhatsApp.

Alan Hall, 65, from Stowmarket in Suffolk was a member of the "Old Boys Beer Meet - Wales" group chat along with five other former officers, where a number of racist, homophobic and sexist messages were exchanged, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

All six men were charged with improper use of a public electronic communications network offence, contrary to the Communications Act 2003.

They were sentenced to between six and 14 weeks' imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

Hall was given eight weeks' imprisonment, suspended for 12 months and 140 hours of unpaid work.

The other members of the group were Michael Chadwell, 62, Peter Booth, 66, Anthony Elsom, 67, Trevor Lewton, 65, and Robert Lewis, 62.

The charges, which relate to messages shared between September 2020 and 2022 came after a BBC Newsnight investigation in October last year which prompted an investigation by the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards.

More than 60 messages with offensive content were shared between members of the group during the two-year period, including references to the Duchess of Sussex, the late Queen and the late Duke of Edinburgh, and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The group, who all retired between 2001 and 2015, served in various parts of the Met throughout their careers.

Adeniyi Ogunleye, senior crown prosecutor at the CPS, said: “It is shocking that six retired police officers who spent their careers upholding the law could think it was acceptable to send these grossly offensive messages.

“The sentences given today clearly demonstrate that they were not just shocking or disturbing jokes, but grossly offensive messages that amount to criminal behaviour."

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