Two serving police officers have been sacked, and four former officers have been told they would have been sacked, for sharing racist, homophobic and misogynist messages in a WhatsApp group.
A disciplinary panel made dismissals orders against PC Gary Bailey from the Metropolitan police and PC Matthew Forster from the Civil Nuclear constabulary (CNC).
Dismissal orders were also made against the former Met PCs Joel Borders, Jonathon Cobban and William Neville, and a former Norfolk constable, PC Daniel Comfort.
Bailey and Forster were dismissed without notice and the panel ruled that the four former officers would have been dismissed had they still been serving.
Last month, Borders and Cobban were sentenced to three months in prison for sharing the offensive messages. In an exchange on 5 April 2019, Borders wrote: “I can’t wait to get on guns so I can shoot some cunt in the face!”
Cobban responded: “Me too. I want to Taser a cat and a dog to see which reacts better. I think the cat will get more pissed off and the dog will shit. I wanna test this theory. Same with children. Zap zap you little fuckers.”
Friday’s dismissal rulings came after an investigation of more than 6,000 messages by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) over allegations of discriminatory and inappropriate comments.
All six men were part of a WhatsApp group, called “Bottles and Stoppers”, that was set up in February 2019 and used to share the offensive exchanges.
All of them apart from Forster, who is subject to different regulations, will be added to the College of Policing barred list preventing them from future employment with the police service.
They were all found to have breached police standards of professional behaviour for discreditable conduct; authority, respect and courtesy; challenging and reporting improper conduct; and equality and diversity.
The IOPC said the messages included racist and homophobic comments, and derogatory remarks aimed at domestic abuse victims, people with disabilities and women.
Examples included comments about starving African children eating flies, and “grooming” of young foreign girls by buying them prawn balls. They also used offensive terms such as “mong” and “pikey”.
In one message about a sexual assault, the phrase “they only have to say yes once” was used. The investigation also uncovered a remark about “dodgy” showers at Auschwitz prompting the response: “Very popular tho. I heard people were queuing up to go in them.”
Sal Naseem, an IOPC regional director, said: “The views expressed by these officers do not belong in a civilised society and as we have said before, social media cannot be a hiding place for them whether on a public platform or as part of a private group.
“Behaviour of this kind undermines public confidence in policing and the dismissal rulings by the panel today send out a strong message that it will not be tolerated.”
All the officers involved had previously worked for CNC but had transferred to the Met by the time the messages were sent.
The IOPC is now preparing to publish its investigation report.