Bethnal Green officers sacked over 'abhorrent and discriminatory' messages

Bethnal Green Police Station in Victoria Park Square

Bethnal Green Police Station in Victoria Park Square - Credit: Google

Two police officers who were based at Bethnal Green police station have been sacked after posting offensive messages in a group chat.

Pc Sukhdev Jeer and Pc Paul Hefford posted inappropriate, highly offensive and discriminatory content on WhatsApp in 2018.

They were dismissed from the force after a tribunal decided on Friday (July 1) that their actions - labelled "abhorrent"  - amounted to gross misconduct.

They also failed to challenge and/or report members of the group after receiving the offensive messages.

The hearing at the Empress State Building, in west London, heard the posts were "discriminatory and serious in nature".

Messages from former officer Richard Hammond, who was also in the group, were regarded as misconduct by the tribunal panel.

Chairman Maurice Cohen said the panel came to the decision having assessed the seriousness of the behaviour, the culpability and the harm the messages caused.

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He said: "Dismissal is the only appropriate action."

It means the men, whose actions were described as "completely unacceptable" by the Met, cannot be employed by other police bodies across the UK.

Mr Cohen slammed the posts as "highly corrosive and discriminatory" to members of the public, "including those in the local community" they served.

He had earlier said: "The postings in this group caused serious reputational damage to the Metropolitan Police as a whole."

Mr Cohen added: "They were mocking and discriminatory to many sections of society the Metropolitan Police force was meant to be policing.

"Bethnal Green is an extremely diverse area."

The posts took place "over an extended period of time" and the officers "should have been aware" of their "unacceptable nature", he said.

"(They) should have been aware these posts were overtly racist, ableist and sexist."

Pc Jeer, described as the "most active contributing member", posted a series of "highly discriminatory and offensive" pictures and messages.

His barrister Ben Summers had argued he 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".

It comes as the Met, the UK’s largest police force, was placed under special measures after a series of failures.

Ch Supt Marcus Barnett, who leads Central East command unit, slammed their "repulsive behaviour", saying the men "rightfully" lost their jobs.