Five serving police officers including three from Scotland Yard are being investigated for allegedly sharing racist, misogynistic and homophobic messages with Wayne Couzens on WhatsApp.
The police watchdog has launched a probe into the claims after the messages were discovered on Couzens’ phone by detectives investigating the murder of Sarah Everard.
The messages were allegedly shared in 2019 when Couzens was working in the Met but before he had joined the armed parliamentary and diplomatic protection command.
Three serving officers from Scotland Yard, one from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, where he used to work and one from the Norfolk Force are all being investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
All of the officers are being investigated for gross misconduct, while those serving with the Met are also the subject of a criminal investigation on suspicion of improper use of the public electronic communications.
The probe is one of several being conducted by the police watchdog into the behaviour of police officers connected with the wider Everard case.
Investigators from the IOPC have also carried out an investigation into allegations that a probationary officer in the Met shared an inappropriate graphic depicting violence against women with colleagues on WhatsApp.
The officer was off duty at the time but subsequently helped man a cordon close to the site where Miss Everard’s body was found.
The investigation is now complete and the findings are expected to be released soon.
In addition, a number of officers from several forces across England and Wales have been accused of breaching professional standards by using a messaging app to share information connected with the prosecution of Couzens.
One officer is being investigated for gross misconduct after allegedly sharing details presented in court when there was no policing purpose to do so.
A further six officers are suspected of misconduct for failing to challenge a colleague when they received the information.
The IOPC is also conducting an investigation into the Met’s handling of allegations of indecent exposure made against Couzens just 72 hours before Miss Everard was abducted and a similar allegation looked at by the Kent force in 2015.