WhatsApp messages about dead cops expose racism and misogyny in Gwent Police

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A treasure trove of racist, homophobic and sexist WhatsApp texts have been discovered on a phone belonging to a deceased officer, exposing the dark underbelly of Gwent Police.

Ricky Jones spent 26 years on the force before taking his own life in January 2020.

One of his adult children recently went through his phone and found thousands of disturbing messages that had been sent between him and 41 other serving and retired officers.

The messages exposed a shocking and toxic culture of cruelty and misogyny at nearly every level of the force.

Members of the chat groups reportedly regularly shared pornographic content and made demeaning comments about junior staff, especially women.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, one of the victims, a junior cop, said a male colleague told her she would move up the ranks faster if she ‘sucked people up’.

She claimed that misogyny and sexual harassment within the force were rampant.

“It comes through strength, boys think it’s okay to smack your ass while you’re walking around,” she said. “That’s the norm in this place.”

A treasure trove of racist, homophobic and sexist WhatsApp texts have been discovered on a deceased officer’s phone, exposing the dark underbelly of Gwent Police (New Gwent Police HQ pictured)

Other officers were more than willing to leak sensitive police information, solicit bribery, and incriminate other officers during group chats.

Another woman told the publication that women who tried to sound the alarm or press charges were fired or humiliated.

She said the way she was treated left her feeling suicidal.

“It’s like an old school boys club. They keep everything in-house. It’s just toxic enough, and it’s a small force, so they’re very good at hiding things,” she said.

A photoshopped image circulating in the group chat was of former PM Theresa May in the Commons front bench appearing to perform a sex act on Philip Hammond, the publication reported.

It’s like an old school boys club

Another police officer reportedly sent images of the burning Grenfell Tower titled ‘The Great Muslim Bakeoff’.

Gwent Chief Constable Pam Kelly said Wiltshire Police were carrying out an independent investigation into the contents of the mobile phone and a secondary tablet.

“The content we have been made aware of is abhorrent and any officer identified by the investigation as violating professional standards or the criminal threshold will be held accountable,” she said.

The messages revealed a shocking and toxic culture of cruelty and misogyny at nearly every level of the force

The messages revealed a shocking and toxic culture of cruelty and misogyny at nearly every level of the force

“The content shared with us paints a picture of a toxic culture that does not represent the majority of our service.”

It comes as three senior officers within the force have been banned from policing following allegations of sexual misconduct by a female officer at a police chief’s going away party.

Chief Superintendent Mark Warrend – former head of Gwent Police CID – temporary Deputy Chief Constable Marc Budden and Chief Inspector Paul Staniforth were struck off after a disciplinary hearing.

An independent panel found allegations of violation of professional standards of behavior proven against all three.

Warrender had already retired from the force and the other two serving officers will be dismissed from Gwent Police.

A spokesman said: ‘Mr Warrender retired prior to the outcome of the hearing, but had he not done so, he would also have been terminated.’

Prosecutors decided that no criminal charges would be brought against the officers.

Chief Superintendent Mark Warrender had already retired from the force, but following allegations of inappropriate touching he was blacklisted barring him from working in the force again.

Acting Deputy Chief Constable Marc Budden has been accused of 'failing to challenge or report the conduct of Chief Superintendent Warrender' in relation to the alleged inappropriate touching and also allegedly provided dishonest accounts of his conduct

It comes as three senior officers within the force have been banned from policing following allegations of sexual misconduct by a female officer at a police chief’s going away party.

Pictured: Chief Inspector Paul Staniforth.  He was removed from his post and placed on the banned list of all UK police forces

Pictured: Chief Inspector Paul Staniforth. He was removed from his post and placed on the banned list of all UK police forces

A female officer filed a sexual assault complaint shortly after the party, prompting a joint investigation by Avon and Somerset Police and the Independent Office for Police Conduct, before evidence was sent to the Crown .

Warrender, Budden and Staniforth were charged with having an “inappropriate conversation” with a junior member of police personnel at the going away party.

Warrender was also charged with “inappropriate touching” during the evening when officers bade farewell to their police chief.

At the time, Deputy Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman said: ‘This result sends a clear message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated within Gwent Police.

“The public expects high standards of integrity from us and when officers abuse their position of power, they will be held accountable.

“Over the past three years, we have reflected on behaviors and changed our culture.”

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