Socialist Worker can reveal a new string of vile misogynist messages that circulated among Metropolitan Police armed response unit officers. They underline the toxic culture that is endemic in the force.
They have been shared exclusively with Socialist Worker and will reinforce the deluge of recent disclosures about the rot at the centre of the police—which led to the resignation of Cressida Dick.
The person who sent us the messages says, “At the time I saw them as so normal among this group. But now after the murder of Sarah Everard and other revelations I want everyone to know just what horrible things they send round to each other. What’s shocking is that they were clearly seen as amusing and part of the day to day culture of the force.”
“I saw the lockers of the police involved, and I remember one of them had stickers of crossed-out dogs, referring to those he had shot.”
A series of emails take up the theme of “Why some men have dogs not wives”. They include, “Ultimate true test: Lock your wife and your dog in the trunk of your car for an hour and see who’s the happiest to see you.”
Others say, “A dog will let you put a studded collar on it without calling you a pervert”, and, “Dogs agree that you have to raise your voice to get the point across,” and, “If a dog smells another dog on you, they don’t get mad. They just think it’s interesting,” and, “If a dog leaves it won’t take half of your stuff.” None of these, circulating by and among top cops, were ever challenged or regarded as in anyway improper or unacceptable.
Another email, initiated by a member of the elite force, shares a “Yogi Bear song”. Its words include, “Yogi’s got a girlfriend bear, Suzie, Suzie/Suzie she likes whips and chains, kinky, kinky/Suzie shaves her pubic hair, grizzly, grizzly/Boo-Boo turns up with his friends, gang bang, gang bang, he’s a gang bang bear.”
The emails were circulated among members of the CO19 (now SCO19) armed response unit. This is the firearms unit of the Metropolitan police. It is given all the latest weaponry in its armed response vehicles that are identified by a circular yellow sticker on the front and back windows, along with a star on the roof for helicopter identification.
One of those who received the messages was later involved in the shooting of Mark Saunders in 2008, which an inquest jury found to be “lawful killing”.
Socialist Worker has the identity of the officers involved, in sending the messages and receiving them but is withholding these to ensure the anonymity of the person who revealed the messages to us.
SCO19 used to be known as SO19, part of the Specialist Operations units. Other SO units included SO6 and SO17 that were merged to become the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection branch. This was the unit where Wayne Couzens, the murderer of Sarah Everard, worked.
A recent report from the usually tame Independent Office of Police Conduct found that Met police officers routinely made jokes about rape and exchanged racist messages. It detailed a pattern of misogyny and bullying in the force and said the episodes it detailed were not isolated ones or the work of a few “bad apples.”
The report added that “the casual exchange and blase nature of this communication indicates a culture where officers were comfortable to make these comments, suggesting it was part of a status quo rather than an exception to the norm.” In addition, “The messages appeared to be sent without fear of repercussion or consequence.” The messages exposed by Socialist Worker confirm this completely.
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