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Six former Met Police officers charged with sending racist messages

15 Aug 2023 3 minute read
The New Scotland Yard sign outside the Metropolitan Police headquarters in London. Photo Kirsty O’Connor/PA Wire

Six former Metropolitan Police officers, two of whom now live in Wales, have been charged with sending grossly offensive racist messages on WhatsApp, the force said.

The charges come after a BBC Newsnight investigation in October last year which prompted a probe by the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards.

Some of the racist messages shared in the chat were allegedly about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, according to the BBC.

The BBC also reported last year that one of the men, Robert Lewis, was a Home Office official who had been suspended by the government department.

The six men charged are:

– Peter Booth, 66, of Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, who has been charged with four counts of sending by public communication grossly offensive racist messages. He retired from the Met in April 2001.

– Robert Lewis, 62, of Camberley, Surrey, who has been charged with eight counts of sending by public communication grossly offensive racist messages. He retired from the Met in May 2015.

– Anthony Elsom, 67, of Bournemouth, Dorset, who has been charged with three counts of sending by public communication grossly offensive racist messages. He retired from the Met in May 2012.

– Alan Hall, 65, of Stowmarket, Suffolk, who has been charged with three counts of sending by public communication grossly offensive racist messages. He retired from the Met in June 2015.

– Michael Chadwell, 62, of Liss, Hampshire, who has been charged with one count of sending by public communication grossly offensive racist messages. He retired from the Met in November 2015.

– Trevor Lewton, 65, of Swansea, South Wales, who has been charged with one count of sending by public communication grossly offensive racist messages. He retired from the Met in August 2009.

Inappropriate communications

The probe found that inappropriate communications were shared within a closed WhatsApp group between August 2018 and September 2022, the Met said.

The officers, who retired between 2001 and 2015, have been charged by post with offences under the Communications Act 2003 and will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on September 7.

The six men were not serving at any point during their participation in the group, the force made clear.

It added that they served in various parts of the Met throughout their careers and all spent time in what is now known as the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection 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.”


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Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
1 month ago

Dirty, racist babylon.

That’s seven Polis in the news today. Seven bad apples. If one apple spoils a barrel what do seven bad apples do to a barrel?

The original mark
The original mark
1 month ago

How many more reports, investigations, select committees have to happen before this racist, misogynistic and corrupt force is closed down.

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