Two London police officers have been terminated from the force after investigations determined they shared “inexcusable” WhatsApp messages. One of the posts likened a racist caricature toy to Meghan Markle.
The fired officers, identified as PC Sukhdev Jeer and PC Paul Hefford, were with the Metropolitan Police‘s Forensic Services unit. Another officer, PC Richard Hammond, was also implicated, Newsweek reported.
Officials said the three individuals were on a WhatsApp group known as “But They Promised.” They were said to have posted “vile” texts on the group. One of the messages in question was shared not too long before Meghan and Prince Harry’s royal wedding in 2018.
Some of the messages that were posted included a “golliwog” meme with the caption, “A sneak preview at Meghan’s wedding dress.”
Per the Jim Crow Museum website, the Golliwog “is the least known of the major anti-black caricatures in the United States.”
“Golliwogs are grotesque creatures, with very dark, often jet black skin, large white-rimmed eyes, red or white clown lips, and wild, frizzy hair,” the museum adds. “Typically, it’s a male dressed in a jacket, trousers, bow tie, and stand-up collar in a combination of red, white, blue, and occasionally yellow colors.”
Commander Jon Savell, who is with the Metropolitan Police’s Professional Standards unit, said the “vile messages were shared in 2018 within a closed WhatsApp group between a small group of officers.”
“I hardly need to say it is completely unacceptable for anyone, let alone a police officer, to behave in such a manner. The actions of these three are inexcusable,” Savell added.
“The whole of the Met is focused on rooting out anyone who displays this type of behavior and lets down the Met and the public we serve.
“Behavior like this will absolutely not be tolerated and we are driving that message home to our officers and staff at every opportunity.”
Another post that was shared on the WhatsApp group was a photo of two White women in the company of two Black men. The photo was captioned: “Girls’ trip to Jamaica. One came back pregnant, the other came back with syphilis. (Just kidding, they’re both still missing.)”
In a statement, the head of Met’s Central East region, Chief Superintendent Marcus Barnett, said: “This repulsive behavior understandably damages that trust and I want to apologise to every single member of the public we serve in this area. These officers have, rightly, been sacked.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex relocated to the United States after stepping back from their roles as senior members of the royal family in 2020. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey last year, the couple spoke about their lives inside the palace, including making bombshell revelations about racism within the Royal Family, mental health, and how the last few years of their relationship had been like, Face2Face Africa reported at the time.
Prince Harry also told Oprah that racism in the United Kingdom was one of the main reasons they relocated. The Duke of Sussex then went ahead to cite a conversation he had with an individual he described as being “friends with a lot of editors”, Newsweek reported.
“He said, please understand that the UK is very bigoted. And I stopped and I said, the UK is not bigoted. The UK press is very bigoted, specifically the tabloids. Is that what you mean?” he said.
“He goes, no, the UK is bigoted. And I said, I completely disagree. But unfortunately, if the source of the information is inherently corrupt or racist or biased, then that filters out to the rest of society.”