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British police apologise for messages about rape, beating women and racist slurs

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By Reuters

LONDON – British police apologised on Tuesday after an investigation found that officers had discussed beating women and made racist and homophobic slurs and that one officer had messaged a female colleague to say he would rape her.

Confidence in London’s police service has been shaken by a series of revelations in recent years, including that one of its officers stopped a woman, Sarah Everard, before abducting, raping and murdering her.

An investigation by the police watchdog into Charing Cross Police Station, less than a mile from London police headquarters, found a culture of bullying, racial discrimination, “toxic masculinity, misogyny and sexual harassment”.

In a report, the Independent Office for Police Conduct detailed some of the explicit messages sent on WhatsApp.

Officer 2: “Grab her by the pussy”

Officer 1: “You ever slapped your missus?”

Officer 1: “It makes them love you more. Seriously since I did that she won’t leave me alone… Knock a bird about and she will love you. Human nature.”

In another instance, one male officer sent messages to a female colleague including: “I would happily rape you” and “If I was single I would happily chloroform you”.

One officer, the investigation found, was referred to by others as “mcrapey raperson” because of rumours that he brought women back to the police station to have sex or because he liked harassing women.

Messages were variously offensive about Muslims, Africans, Somalis, Auschwitz, gays and people with disabilities.

Officers joked about making dog food out of African children, called Somalis “rats” and cast a Black man as a “robber”. Those with disabilities were labelled “retards”.

Some of the messages were so obscene or offensive that Reuters has not included them.

“We are deeply sorry to all Londoners for the reprehensible conduct of a team of officers at Charing Cross Police Station,” London police said.

Britain’s interior minister, Priti Patel, said the London police force had a problem with its culture.

“It has been clear for some time that there are problems with the culture of the Metropolitan Police,” Patel said. “The public rightly expects the behaviour of the police to be beyond reproach – standards must be raised.”