Two Metropolitan Police officers are under criminal investigation for messages found in a WhatsApp group during Sarah Everard’s investigation.
The officers, along with a former Met officer, are under criminal investigation, said police oversight body, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
The three officers are also under investigation for serious misconduct for allegedly sending discriminatory or inappropriate messages to the Whatsapp group between March and October 2019.
Another Met police officer, one from the Civil Nuclear Police (CNC) and one from the Norfolk Police are also under investigation as part of the misconduct investigation.
The criminal investigation was revealed Thursday when the IOPC took stock of its investigations related to the conviction of former PC Wayne Couzens.
The IOPC said in a statement: “The cell phone messages were discovered during the police investigation into the murder of Ms. Everard.
“Three of the officers on duty are from the MPS, one from the Civil Nuclear Police (CNC) and one from the Norfolk Police. The former officer was previously with the MPS.
“They are under investigation for serious misconduct for allegedly sending messages of a discriminatory and / or inappropriate nature, and for allegedly failing to challenge messages sent by others.
“Two of the MPS agents and the former MPS officer were also informed that they were the subject of a criminal investigation for misuse of the public electronic communications network under section 127 of the Law on communications. “
In other updates, the IOPC said it would soon decide what further action to take against a probation police officer – who ended up endowing the cordon with Ms Everard’s search – who was investigated for serious misconduct for allegedly posting an inappropriate image on WhatsApp about the matter during off-duty hours.
Two other probation officers were also investigated for allegations that they shared the graphic image and failed to challenge it. The watchdog’s report and findings have been forwarded to the Met.
An investigation into how Couzens suffered head injuries while in detention on March 10 and 12 found that they were “self-inflicted” and that the correct procedures were followed by the Met.
The IOPC did not provide any update on its investigations into police investigations into two allegations of previous sex crimes against Couzens.
There is no date yet for the release of their findings, despite mounting pressure to find out how the Met officer “slipped through the net” before raping and murdering Sarah Everard.
The police watchdog said Thursday it would aim to complete investigations into the conduct of officers linked to the Sarah Everard case “as quickly as possible”.
IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem said: “We cannot provide updates for some of our Couzens related investigations, which are ongoing, but following today’s conviction (de Couzens), we will seek to conclude these questions as quickly as possible. “
Chief Inspector of Police Sir Tom Winsor has confirmed that Couzens was sometimes referred to as ‘the rapist’ by other officers during his career and that the IOPC was investigating what other officers knew about him.
Asked about The World At One on BBC Radio 4 if he was aware of Couzens ‘reputation as a’ rapist ‘, Sir Tom replied:’ Yes, I know that. And (he) would also have had a reputation for drug addiction, extreme pornography, and the like.
He also warned that police were not raising concerns about coworkers exhibiting “harmful or disturbing” characteristics.
There seemed to be a ‘culture of protecting colleagues’ within the service, he said, adding:’ My concern is that there is in too many ways and in too many places a culture of protection of colleagues.
“The forces do not sufficiently identify and address concerns about behavior and attitudes when officers are on probation when they should be deported.”
“In too many ways, there is evidence that police officers are realizing the damaging or disturbing characteristics of police officers not reporting them, not putting up a warning flag, and that must change.”
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