‘Vulgar and sexist’ WhatsApp texts ignored by bosses, says ex Met detective

Both Priti Patel and Cressida Dick ignored the warning, a former Met detective has said

Thomas Kingsley
Monday 04 October 2021 09:17
Comments
Police are ‘overwhelmingly trustworthy’, Boris Johnson says

A former Metropolitan Police detective has accused Cressida Dick and Priti Patel of ignoring warnings of ‘vulgar and sexist’ Whatsapp messages in a group chat of Met officers and contractors.

Retired Detective Superintendent Paige Kimberly said she wrote to Cressida Dick and Priti Patel following the death of Sarah Everard, requesting a review into “how inappropriate behaviour is addressed amongst contract workers.”

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is now investigating the conduct of five serving officers and a former Met Police officer over a group chat Sarah Everard murder, Wayne Couzens was in, which involved “misogynistic and racist” messages. This group is different to the one Ms Kimberly was in.

Ms Kimberly is due to be compensated after a tribunal last month ruled that a job offer was withdrawn a day after she reported sexist messages and images on the Whatsapp group to her civilian line manager.

A 2019 internal investigation took no action against the male officers, ruling that the messages were “distasteful” but did not amount to criminality or misconduct.

Ms Kimberly wrote to Ms Dick in March, according to MailOnline, highlighting the “sexist and abusive” messages in a group chat formed by one of the contractors, who was an ex-senior officer.

Ms Kimberley said: “I sent it recorded delivery. I never got a reply. I also wrote to the home secretary, Priti Patel, but did not get a response. It has cost them an awful lot of money to defend this case and they tried to discredit me.”

An employment tribunal heard that Ms Kimberly was working on a team which also consisted of retired male senior officers, a serving constable and a civilian IT specialist.

Ms Kimberly said the Whatsapp group was formed to keep in touch with team members and tackle issues that arose. She added, however, that the group evolved into light-hearted conversation and after leaving the role - but remaining in the group chat - she noticed the chat had evolved further to “become graphic, sexual and derogatory towards women,” the tribunal heard.

She claims her male colleagues were aware she was still in the group but “they continued to publish statements, images and videos which were negative towards or about women” – up to 20 messages a day.

In her statement to the tribunal, Kimberley said: “I was shocked and disappointed by the content of these messages.

“Yet despite their respective responsibilities, and on whose behalf they were working, and being paid reasonably high amounts by the taxpayer, they were still circulating aggressive and inappropriate messages, photographs and videos in a work Whatsapp group, including a graphic image of a diseased vagina, messages calling women slags and disclosing very misogynistic and sexist attitudes towards women.”

Ms Kimberly was invited to return to the role in September 2019, she told the tribunal, but said she couldn’t until the contents of the group chat were addressed. She added that the conduct of the contractors had created a “hostile and offensive environment” for her.

A Met spokesman said: “We are currently assessing the details of the tribunal’s finding. We cannot comment further at this time.”

After the case, Ms Kimberly’s lawyer Terry Falcao said: “This was an important case for Paige as she acted on good faith and with the best motivation to disclose misogynistic and unacceptable sexual conduct from contractors working with a police officer and Met Police staff. This was a protected act.

“The tribunal accepted her version of events, that she disclosed this conduct to a senior manager in the digital policing unit. This resulted in the withdrawal of an offer to earn a significant sum of money.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in