Eight Met Police officers who shared sick messages about Katie Price’s disabled son Harvey are found guilty of gross misconduct
- The disgraced Met Police officers have been told they may face the sack
Eight serving and former Metropolitan Police officers have been found guilty of gross misconduct and now face being dismissed over ‘discriminatory and offensive’ messages they shared, including some which made fun of Katie Price’s disabled son.
The officers – seven men and one woman – were found to have sent sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic and disablist comments in a WhatsApp group called ‘Secret Squirrel Sh*t’ between May 17, 2016 and June 26, 2018.
Legal chair Christopher McKay described gross misconduct as a ‘breach of the standards of professional behaviour that is so serious as to justify dismissal’, during the fifth day of hearings at Palestra House in Southwark, central London, on Thursday.
He found each former and serving officer to have committed gross misconduct over their own messages, as well as by ‘failing to challenge or report’ the conduct of others in the group.
The hearing concerned former sergeant Luke Thomas, former acting sergeant Luke Allen, former Pc Kelsey Buchan, former Pc Carlo Francisco, former Pc Lee South, former Pc Darren Jenner, Pc Glynn Rees, and Officer B, who has been granted anonymity.
Harvey Price was targeted by officers in the WhatsApp group messages
Mr Price is the son of former glamour model Katie Price who has spoken out about the abuse he has received
Price was sent a letter detailing the misconduct claims before the hearing, which she shared on her Instagram account earlier this year
Their messages included derogatory comments about 20-year-old Mr Price, who suffers from Prader-Willi syndrome and autism, and about a junior female officer, known in the hearings as Officer A.
Mr Price’s mother Katie Price had previously shared a letter from the Met Police documenting the disciplinary proceedings against the group.
READ MORE: ‘Upset’ Katie Price says ‘I tell my kids police will protect you…they mocked Harvey for being blind’
In the letter, which was addressed to Price and dated January 26, an investigator from the Discrimination Investigation Unit within the Professional Standards Department of the Met Police informed her that ‘a number of Metropolitan Police officers are alleged to have breached the Standards of Professional Behaviour in regards to Discreditable Conduct for being part of a WhatsApp group chat that has posted inappropriate and derogatory images of your son, Harvey Price’.
Mr McKay said Officer B, who can be named at the end of proceedings, posted an edited photograph of Mr Price in the chat with the caption: ‘You’ve heard of elf on a shelf, now get ready for Harvey Price eating Uncle Ben’s basmati rice after trying to read three blind mice on spice.’
Mr McKay said: ‘The rhyme has a racist tone and refers to his disability – he is partially sighted.
‘There is no need to refer to Uncle Ben’s rice unless pointing to the racial origins of Uncle Ben and Harvey Price being similar.
‘The words ‘trying to read’ also highlight his disability.’
Mr McKay said the post was a ‘significant breach of the standard of equality and diversity’, ‘inappropriate and offensive’ to Mr Price, and constitutes ‘gross misconduct’.
The panel found the most senior-ranking officer in the group, Mr Thomas, ‘appears to have been one of the most active participants’ in the WhatsApp group.
Mr Thomas mocked Mr Price’s weight in some messages, called Officer A ‘f****** ugly’, and joked that he should name his dog ‘Auschwitz’, ‘Adolf’ or ‘Fred’ or ‘Ian’ after ‘my two favourite child sex killers’.
Mr McKay said: ‘Given his supervisory role as a sergeant, he failed to adequately supervise or guide his team in respect of conduct.
‘His failings are extremely serious.
‘He could and should have closed the WhatsApp group as soon as the highly inappropriate nature of the messages became apparent.
‘Instead he became one of its main contributors. This was undoubtedly gross misconduct.’
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