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Three London police officers charged over offensive Whatsapp messages

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By Euronews
The three suspects are due to appear in court next month.
The three suspects are due to appear in court next month.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File   -  

Three London police officers have been charged with exchanging "grossly offensive" messages on WhatsApp.

The suspects are accused of sharing racist and misogynistic messages to Wayne Couzens, a former police officer who was convicted of murdering Sarah Everard last year.

Couzens was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping, raping and killing the 33-year-old London woman.

During the investigation, it emerged that the former officer had exchanged offensive messages with former colleagues, dating back to 2019.

Two of the charged officers were still on duty, while the third had already left the force, authorities said.

They are due to appear in a London court on March 16 for an initial hearing, according to the UK Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

"Each of the three defendants has been charged with sending grossly offensive messages on a public communications network," said Rosemary Ainslie, Head of the CPS Special Crime Division.

"The alleged offences took place on a WhatsApp group chat," she added.

The Metropolitan Police has confirmed that the two active officers had been placed on restricted duties during the investigation and were suspended from duty.

The charges are the latest scandal to hit London's police force in recent years, following the murder of Sarah Everard.

Two other police officers also recently admitted to taking selfies at the crime scene of a double murder and sharing them on WhatsApp.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick resigned last week after pressure from London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Her resignation came after the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) released a report on "inappropriate behaviours" within the Metropolitan Police's ranks including racism, misogyny, harassment and the exchange of offensive social media messages.

Khan had said he was "not satisfied with the Commissioner's response" to the report.

"It's clear that the only way to start to deliver the scale of the change required is to have new leadership right at the top of the Metropolitan Police," he said in a statement.

Additional sources • AFP, DPA