Three Metropolitan police officers have appeared before a misconduct hearing accused of sharing racist and offensive messages, including likening the Duchess of Sussex to a golliwog toy and calling a black boy a monkey.
The officers, who worked in a unit at Bethnal Green police station in east London, allegedly shared videos that were “explicitly racist, homophobic, sexist, ableist and Islamophobic”.
PCs Sukhdev Jeer and Paul Hefford, and former PC Richard Hammond, are accused of gross misconduct, which can be punished with dismissal.
The three officers were said to have been members of a WhatsApp group called But They Promised, which they used between January and December 2018.
A misconduct hearing at the Empress State Building, in west London, was told that the group had shared messages including an image of a golliwog toy captioned “a sneak preview at Meghan’s wedding dress”, a reference to Prince Harry’s then fiancee, Meghan Markle.
Jeer is accused of posting an image of a boy in a hooded jumper with the words “monkey in the jungle”, superimposed with a penis, while Hefford is accused of altering the same image with a disabled person.
Details of the case have emerged as the policing inspectorate, HMICFRS, placed the Met into special measures, an unprecedented move triggered by a litany of “systemic” failings in fighting crime and serving victims.
It comes after the Charing Cross scandal earlier this year, which ultimately led to the resignation of Dame Cressida Dick, the commissioner. Officers at that station sent offensive WhatsApp messages, including remarks about raping their colleagues and homophobic and racist abuse.
The Bethnal Green officers are also accused of misconduct for failing to challenge one another over the content that was posted.
The hearing was told one video showed a white woman describing the benefits of good exercise by having a black man chase her, while another mocked someone with dwarfism.
The hearing continues.