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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Jane Dalton

Two Met Police officers sacked for mocking Katie Price’s disabled son in Whatsapp group

Nick Ansell/PA

Two serving Metropolitan Police officers have been dismissed over discriminatory messages they sent to colleagues in a WhatsApp group, including some about Katie Price’s disabled son.

Eight serving and former Met officers were found guilty on Thursday of gross misconduct over a “discriminatory and offensive” WhatsApp group.

The officers, seven men and one woman, were found to have sent sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic and disablist comments in a WhatsApp group called “Secret Squirrel S***” between May 2016 and June 2018.

Harvey Price and Katie Price (Ian West/PA) (PA Archive)

Pc Glynn Rees and Officer B, who was granted anonymity, have been dismissed by a disciplinary panel in Southwark, central London, following a six-day hearing.

The pair, along with former sergeant Luke Thomas, former acting sergeant Luke Allen and former constables Kelsey Buchan, Lee South, Darren Jenner, and Carlo Francisco, were also barred for life from the police service.

Thomas, Allen, Buchan, South and Jenner resigned from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) after the messages were unearthed, while Francisco was dismissed in July for “an unrelated matter” involving “discreditable conduct”, according to the force.

In addition to posting messages about Price’s son Harvey, who is autistic and lives with Prader-Willi syndrome, Thomas is alleged to have suggested to the group that he name his dog “Auschwitz”, “Adolf” or “Fred” or “Ian” after “my two favourite child sex killers”.

In another conversation, one of the officers referred to a male police officer who “once got away with rape” and said he was “a legend in my eyes”, the panel heard.

Their texts included derogatory comments about 20-year-old Mr Price and about a junior female officer, known in the hearings as Officer A.

This is another painful day for us. We know there are more uncomfortable days to come
— Commander Jon Savell

After a five-day misconduct hearing, legal chair Christopher McKay found each former and serving officer to have committed gross misconduct over their own messages, as well as by “failing to challenge or report” the conduct of others in the group.

Commander Jon Savell, head of professionalism standards and recognition at the Met, said: “I was repulsed and ashamed to read the deeply offensive messages sent by these officers and I utterly condemn their behaviour.

“I am deeply sorry to those who have been the subject of such awful disgusting messages.

“The Commissioner has been very clear about our commitment to finding and getting rid of anyone in the Met who has these highly offensive attitudes and today’s result is an example of that.

“I have over 600 colleagues in our professional standards directorate – a team we have significantly grown – whose absolute focus is on this critically important piece of work.

“We are under no illusion that public trust and confidence in us depends on us re-establishing our integrity and professionalism.

“This is another painful day for us. We know there are more uncomfortable days to come as we turn over the stones and uncover others who corrupt our integrity.”

Mr McKay said: “Racist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic attitudes revealed in the posts and comments have undermined the reputation of the Metropolitan Police Service as a fair and impartial body.

“Harm has been caused to Harvey Price and his mother, who have learned of the posts recently, and has resulted in a loss of confidence in the MPS by Katie Price.

“Officer A is now aware of the insulting way in which she was referred to by members of the group. She must have been upset.”

The panel found that Thomas, the most senior-ranking officer, was “one of the most active participants” in the WhatsApp group.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “I’m as disgusted as other Londoners are by the fact that certain police officers, any member of society, in fact, should behave in this way – further evidence of institutional racism, institutional social institutional homophobia.

“There’s no place in our police service for anybody who is racist, sexist, homophobic, misogynistic.”

New Met Commissioner Mark Rowley has been battling to restore trust in the force, pledging to clean it up, root out corruption and sack unscrupulous officers.

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