Top police officers were put under a six-month misconduct investigation over ‘disparaging’ jibes about killer cop Wayne Couzens, which included calling him ‘ginger’.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launched a probe into a group of Police Federation officials after it emerged they had discussed the Met officer’s legal defence in a private messaging service.
The watchdog alleged that by making certain comments, speculating whether he might kill himself, or even discussing sensitive legal matters at all, federation officers were breaching standards.
Top police officers were investigated by a watchdog after making ‘disparaging’ comments about Sarah Everard’s killer Wayne Couzens, which included describing him as ginger
The group of officials investigated included the federation’s chair, John Apter, who allegedly failed to challenge messages written by colleagues
In response, officials accused the IOPC of being heavy-handed and defended their right to discuss a case which so badly damaged the public perception of the police.
It was even claimed it was an act of revenge by the watchdog after the federation had frequently criticised its investigations, but the IOPC rejected this notion, according to the Times.
The group of officials investigated included the federation’s chair, John Apter, who allegedly failed to challenge messages written by colleagues.
This included national treasurer Simon Kempton, whose comments about Couzens’ defence – that he claimed he abducted Everard but handed her to a gang to clear a debt – served no legitimate policing purpose.
National secretary Alex Duncan claimed that only a ‘nasty bang to the head’ could explain it, while national vice chairman Che Donald added ‘he’d be better off going with the defence that he’s ginger’, and was accused of a standards breach after the comments were described as ‘disparaging’.
Apter and other officers in the group who did not respond were ultimately cleared of wrongdoing.
The IOPC told the Times: ‘When given our findings, both forces agreed their officers [Duncan and Donald] should face misconduct proceedings.
‘It is not our role to decide whether or not an officer has breached professional standards, that rests with the police misconduct meeting or hearing.’