Random phone searches for police officers should be carried out to check for inappropriate jokes and racist, sexist and homophobic slurs, the chief police inspector said.
Sir Tom Winsor said trawling WhatsApp and social media could act as a deterrent, much like random drug testing of police officers. Sir Tom also spoke of his loathing for officers taking photos of murdered sisters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry before sharing them in a group message with colleagues.
In an interview with The Times, he condemned the actions of PC Deniz Jaffer and PC Jamie Lewis, who face jail for photographing the sisters and sharing the footage on WhatsApp.
The Guardian understands that Jaffer was a mentor for new hires. The Met said he resigned in August and that he and Lewis would face a fast-track process to fire them.
“The police see people in their most desperate times, in the worst times of their lives. Photographing the bodies of two people who were murdered is just unspeakably disgusting, revolting, ”he said.
Winsor said police need to be stricter in selecting new officers to prevent another Wayne Couzens from joining the service, but also to be more assiduous in “eliminating” officers who show a penchant for violence, enjoy wielding power. over others or exhibit homophobia, racism or misogyny. trends.
He said: “Seems to me like there’s no good reason why there shouldn’t be random checks of their social media. If they put stuff on Facebook, a public site, It’s public WhatsApp communications are end-to-end encrypted, but they are still stored on the receiving device and even on the sending device, so they can be queried.
Responding to concerns about how this might invade privacy, he said due to the extraordinary powers the police have, they should be held to higher standards than other professions.
“Let’s say instead of putting the information on an email message, the person in question wrote it down, put it in an envelope, and mailed it to someone else. No one would seriously assert that paper correspondence should be confidential at all times.
“The right to confidentiality of your correspondence, under the Convention on Human Rights, is not an absolute right. “
Last month, it was announced that Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Police, Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFR) had been tasked with investigating verification and anti-corruption in police services.
Home Secretary Priti Patel has launched the investigation to examine why Couzens, sentenced to life for the kidnapping, rape and murder of Sarah Everard, had not been forcibly identified as a sexually aggressive predator.
Launching its annual State of the Police report, Winsor warned that such a case could occur in any force – and said internal police investigative units needed to be staffed with some of the best detectives to guard against agents who abuse their power for sexual purposes.
HMICFRS declined to comment on Winsor’s remarks.