Six retired police officers have been charged with criminal offences in the UK over offensive racist messages which referenced Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Former Metropolitan Police Service officers who retired between 2011 and 2015 have been charged under Communication Act 2003. According to a statement by Metropolitan Police, the inappropriate messages were allegedly sent in a closed WhatsApp group from August 2018 to September 2022.
“Some of the posts referenced the government’s Rwanda policy, while others joked about the recent flooding in Pakistan, which left almost 1,700 people dead. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also featured in several images alongside racist language,” the BBC reported.
The six policemen had served time in the Diplomatic Protection Group (since renamed the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command), which deploys officers to protect government buildings, embassies and residences, including the prime ministerial residence of 10 Downing Street and the Palace of Westminster, where parliament sits, Newsweek reported.
Now, those charged – Peter Booth, Robert Lewis, Anthony Elsom, Alan Hall, Michael Chadwell and Trevor Lewton are due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on September 7.
Met Police, Commander James Harman, head of the Met’s Anti-Corruption and Abuse Command, in a statement said, “As soon as we were made aware of these allegations we acted to launch an investigation. I am pleased that following the determined work of officers we have been able to secure these charges,” Harman said. “We are working relentlessly to rebuild the trust of the public which has understandably been dented by a number of high-profile incidents and investigations in recent years which have involved officers or former officers.
“The honest majority of Met officers are fully behind this work. They are tired of being let down by a minority in policing and they are aware of the damage poor behaviour can do to our relationship with the communities we serve,” he added.
BBC reported that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex also featured in several images alongside racist language. The exact content of the messages has not been revealed.