Six former Met Police officers charged following investigation into ‘racist’ WhatsApp messages

Six former Metropolitan Police officers have been charged following an investigation into alleged racist and misogynistic messages exchanged on WhatsApp.

Peter Booth, 66, Robert Lewis, 62, Anthony Elsom, 67, Alan Hall, 65, Michael Chadwell, 62 and Trevor Lewton, 65, will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court next month accused of sending “grossly offensive racist messages”, an offence under the Communications Act.

The charges were brought following an investigation by the Met Police’s Directorate of Professional Standards after messages were uncovered by BBC Newsnight, some relating to the Government’s Rwanda policy, the flooding in Pakistan and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, in October last year.

Scotland Yard said it made an arrest within hours of receiving the allegations from the BBC and found messages were shared in a closed WhatsApp group over a four-year period.

The men retired from the force between 2001 and 2015 but had all spent time in the Diplomatic Protection Group, now known as the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command.

Anti-Corruption and Abuse Command

Commander James Harman, who leads the Met’s Anti-Corruption and Abuse Command, said: “As soon as we were made aware of these allegations we acted to launch an investigation. I am pleased that following the determined work of officers we have been able to secure these charges.

“We are working relentlessly to rebuild the trust of the public which has understandably been dented by a number of high profile incidents and investigations in recent years which have involved officers or former officers.

“The honest majority of Met officers are fully behind this work. They are tired of being let down by a minority in policing and they are aware of the damage poor behaviour can do to our relationship with the communities we serve.

“I recognise announcements about the outcome of our investigations may have the potential to cause further public concern, but I hope it demonstrates our absolute commitment to investigate any corrupt and abusive behaviour from the Met.

“I hope the public will recognise that we are determined to take the necessary measures to investigate any wrongdoing wherever we find it.”

The men are due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, September 7.

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