Two Metropolitan Police officers have been sacked after posting offensive messages in a group chat, including a racist joke about the Duchess of Sussex.
Pc Sukhdev Jeer and Pc Paul Hefford, who worked at Bethnal Green police station in east London, posted inappropriate, highly offensive and discriminatory content on WhatsApp in 2018, a tribunal decided on Friday.
Their actions, labelled “abhorrent and discriminatory”, amounted to gross misconduct, meaning they were dismissed from the force.
They also failed to challenge and/or report the members of the group after receiving the offensive messages.
The hearing at the Empress State Building, in west London, heard the posts, including one about Meghan, were “discriminatory and serious in nature”.
Messages from former officer Richard Hammond, who was also in the group, were regarded as misconduct by the tribunal panel.
Chairman Maurice Cohen said the panel came to the decision having assessed the seriousness of the behaviour, the culpability and the harm the messages caused.
He said: “Dismissal is the only appropriate action”.
Mr Cohen slammed the posts as “highly corrosive and discriminatory” to members of the public “including those in the local community” they served.
He had earlier said: “The postings in this group caused serious reputational damage to the Metropolitan Police as a whole.”
He added: “They were mocking and discriminatory to many sections of society the Metropolitan Police force was meant to be policing.
“Bethnal Green is an extremely diverse area.”
Mr Cohen said the posts took place “over an extended period of time” and that the officers “should have been aware” of their “unacceptable nature”.
He added: “(They) should have been aware these posts were overtly racist, ableist and sexist.”
It means the men, whose actions were labelled “completely unacceptable” by the Met, cannot be employed by other police bodies across the UK.
Pc Jeer, described as the “most active contributing member”, posted a series of “highly discriminatory and offensive” pictures and messages.
Pc Jeer had previously told the hearing he was “not in a good place” and had used the language to cope with the “issues” he had been experiencing.
Barrister Ben Summers had argued Pc Jeer should not be dismissed over a “handful of inappropriate jokes” which caused “limited harm”.
He described Pc Jeer as a “long-serving” member of the force who should be allowed “an opportunity for learning”, through a warning.
Michael Shaw, representing Pc Hefford, said the officer found his posts “embarrassing and difficult” and has learned a “sad lesson”.
He added: “Simply sacking him won’t restore public confidence in the Met.”
Mr Cohen, deciding their actions amounted to gross misconduct, said: “These standards fell seriously short of those expected of a Metropolitan Police officer.”
He said Pc Hefford had been “lacking in insight and remorse” following his behaviour.
Former officer Hammond also sent a “discriminatory message” about the London borough of Tower Hamlets, it was said.
Vishal Misra, representing the Met, said: “The panel has found the postings were abhorrent and discriminatory in nature and the damage it has done to public confidence is substantial and far-reaching.”
He went on: “They have shown little by the way of remorse and contrition, minimising and deflecting what had been said to excuse behaviour rather than explain.”
Mr Misra also said “trust once lost is not easily regained” adding dismissal was required to maintain public confidence in the force.
It comes as the Met, the UK’s largest police force, was placed under special measures this week after a series of failures.
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