Two Metropolitan Police officers have been sacked after posting offensive messages, including a racist joke about the Duchess of Sussex, in a WhatsApp group chat.
PC Sukhdev Jeer and PC Paul Hefford, who worked in a unit at Bethnal Green police station in east London, posted inappropriate, highly offensive and discriminatory content in 2018.
The hearing at the Empress State Building, in west London, heard the posts in a closed WhatsApp group, including one comparing Meghan to a “********” toy, were “discriminatory and serious in nature”.
The news comes as the UK’s largest police force was placed under special measures this week after a series of failures.
The pair’s actions, labelled “abhorrent and discriminatory”, amounted to gross misconduct, a tribunal decided on Friday, meaning they were dismissed from the force.
It means the men, whose actions were labelled “completely unacceptable” by the Met, cannot be employed by other police bodies across the UK.
Chairman Maurice Cohen said “dismissal is the only appropriate action”.
‘Highly discriminatory’ messages
PC Jeer, described as the “most active contributing member”, posted a series of “highly discriminatory and offensive” pictures and messages.
It was heard that in one message, PC Jeer shared an image of a “********” toy that was captioned: “A sneak preview at Meghan’s wedding dress.”
Another was of a young boy in a hoodie which was captioned “****** in the jungle”.
Mr Cohen slammed the posts as “highly corrosive and discriminatory” to members of the public “including those in the local community” they served.
Posts took place over ‘extended period of time’
He had earlier said the messages caused “serious reputational damage to the Metropolitan Police as a whole”.
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.”
‘Dismissal is only appropriate action’
The men also failed to challenge and/or report the members of the group after receiving the offensive messages.
The Met police has previously come under fire over officer misconduct and the use of WhatsApp group chats.
Deniz Jaffer and Jamie Lewis were both jailed after they took and shared images on WhatsApp of the bodies of murdered sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman who were found dead in a west London park.
Barrister Ben Summers had argued PC Jeer should not be dismissed over a “handful of inappropriate jokes” which caused “limited harm”.
Michael Shaw, representing PC Hefford, said the officer found his posts “embarrassing and difficult” and has learned a “sad lesson”.
Messages from former officer Richard Hammond, who was also in the group, were regarded as misconduct by the tribunal panel.
Commander Jon Savell, professional standards, said: “The actions of these three are inexcusable.
“The whole of the Met is focused on rooting out anyone who displays this type of behaviour and lets down the Met and the public we serve.”