Met officers charged over alleged offensive messages to killer cop Wayne Couzens
Three police officers who worked with Sarah Everard’s killer Wayne Couzens have been charged over allegations they shared racist and misogynistic messages with him.
Two serving Metropolitan Police officers and one former officer have been charged with sending grossly offensive messages on WhatsApp, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) sent prosecutors a file on allegations the three shared racist and misogynistic messages with Couzens between April and August 2019.
The three are due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on March 16.
The CPS said it cannot currently confirm the names of the officers for operational reasons.
Asked why this is the case, a spokesman said he could not provide any further information but the decision is being kept under review.
Typically defendants, including police officers such as Couzens, are identified when they are charged.
Following a referral of evidence by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, the CPS has authorised charges against two serving Metropolitan Police officers and one former officer
Rosemary Ainslie, head of the CPS Special Crime Division, said: “Following a referral of evidence by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, the CPS has authorised charges against two serving Metropolitan Police officers and one former officer.
“All three will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 16 March for their first hearing.
“Each of the three defendants has been charged with sending grossly offensive messages on a public communications network. The alleged offences took place on a WhatsApp group chat.
“The function of the CPS is not to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges to a court to consider.
“Criminal proceedings are active and nothing should be published that could jeopardise the defendants right to a fair trial.”
Prosecutors had been considering a file of evidence referred by the IOPC on the “alleged sending and sharing of inappropriate messages by police officers”.
The watchdog sent evidence of possible offences regarding “grossly offensive material” under the Communications Act.
It comes after the IOPC launched an investigation into claims the three officers and others sent “discriminatory messages” over WhatsApp between March and October 2019 after the information was recovered from an old mobile phone found during the police probe into Ms Everard’s murder in March 2021.
The two serving officers were initially placed on restricted duties while the investigation took place and the charges were considered. But the Met confirmed on Thursday that they have now been suspended.
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