London mayor puts Met Commissioner 'on notice' over racist and sexist police messages

Tap above to watch video report by Simon Harris

A "furious" Sadiq Khan has put the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick "on notice" after a shocking report revealed racist, misogynistic and homophobic messages sent by officers at Charing Cross.

The London Mayor told Ms Dick she most "drive out" the culture of racism, homophobia, bullying and misogyny within the force, as he sought urgent reassurance that such behaviour was not being repeated elsewhere in the Met.

“The mayor and the commissioner had a very frank discussion which lasted for well over 90 minutes," a spokesperson for Mr Khan said on Wednesday.

"The mayor made clear to the commissioner how angry he is with a return to the bad days of the Met of his childhood in the 1970s and 80s, and that neither he nor Londoners will put up with this. “He has put the commissioner on notice."

The comments come after details of messages from WhatsApp and Facebook groups including multiple references to rape, violence against women, racist and homophobic abuse were unveiled by the watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC)

In a shocking report, the IOPC revealed the highly offensive language used by officers from a now disbanded team based in Westminster, primarily at Charing Cross police station.

Fourteen officers were investigated by the watchdog, of whom two were found to have a case to answer for gross misconduct. One was sacked and another resigned before he would have been dismissed.

Nine are still serving with the force, while another is working as a contractor in a staff role.

A spokesperson for Mr Khan told of the mayor's fury after reading the findings, saying that he was concerned further allegations against Britain's biggest police force would erode public trust in officers even further.

"Sadiq is calling in the Commissioner to explain how she will ensure that there is no reoccurrence of totally unacceptable behaviour," the spokesperson added.

"These cultural issues aren’t historic but under the current Met leadership’s watch," the spokesperson added.

Following their meeting on Wednesday, Ms Dick told reporters she had "just had a very productive meeting with the Mayor."

Cressida Dick speaks to reporters after the meeting

She added: "We were discussing the terrible case that the public heard about yesterday, disgraceful behaviour, we're both absolutely determined to eradicate it."

The commissioner did not say if she had apologised over the report - and refused to answer questions on the Downing Street parties scandal.

The IOPC took the unusual step of publishing the messages in full – despite the fact that much of the content is too offensive to print in mainstream news coverage – as it detailed the “disgraceful” behaviour of Metropolitan Police officers based in a now disbanded Westminster team between 2016 and 2018.

Home Secretary Priti Patel called the officers "sickening" and told bosses at the force “standards must be raised” in the wake of the report.

Charing Cross Police Station in central London

IOPC regional director Sal Naseem said: "The behaviour we uncovered was disgraceful and fell well below the standards expected of the officers involved. While these officers predominantly worked in teams in Westminster, which have since been disbanded, we know from other recent cases that these issues are not isolated or historic.

"The learning report we are publishing today is shocking and contains language which is offensive – and some may find it upsetting.

"However, we felt it was important to provide the context for the public, the Met and other forces, for why such hard-hitting recommendations are necessary."