Numerous serving police officers are under investigation for allegedly exchanging ‘grossly offensive material’ with Wayne Couzens, who is responsible for the murder of Sarah Everard.
It has now been reported that prior to the rape and murder of Everard, Couzens was part of a WhatsApp group along with five other officers in which he exchanged misogynistic, racist and homophobic material.
The group is said to have included three other officers from the Met Police, according to The Times, as well as one officer from Norfolk constabulary and another from the civil nuclear constabulary, where Couzens previously worked.
The ‘vile’ messages were reportedly found on Couzens’ phone following his arrest, and are said to have been exchanged between March and October 2019.
As a result of the discovery, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said yesterday that the five officers are under investigation for gross misconduct. The messages, which were also shared with a former Met officer, were described as being of a ‘discriminatory and/or inappropriate nature’.
Two of the Met officers and the former officer are being criminally investigated for sending grossly offensive material, while the IOPC is also carrying out other inquiries into officers who allegedly made jokes regarding violence against women and inappropriately shared information connected to Couzens’ prosecution.
According to Sir Tom Winsor, Her Majesty’s chief inspector of constabulary, Couzens had been known as ‘the rapist’ by some officers, and warned of a ‘culture of colleague protection’ within the police.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 between 12pm–2.30pm and 7pm– 9.30pm every day. Alternatively, you can contact Victim Support free on 08 08 16 89 111 available 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas
Male Survivors Partnership is available to support adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. You can contact the organisation on their website or on their free helpline 0808 800 5005, open 9am–5pm Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays; 8am–8pm Tuesdays and Thursdays; 10am–2pm Saturdays.