A top watchdog has opened investigations into the allegations that police officers responsible for guarding nuclear facilities and materials were engaged in racist and other offensive conversations.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said its two probes would look into the accusations that nine officers of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary were involved in “conversations of a racist, misogynistic, ableist and offensive nature while on duty”.
“Our investigations will look into allegations that these officers openly engaged in conversations of a discriminatory nature and either used or failed to challenge offensive language,” it stated without revealing any specifics.
It said all the officers facing the allegations were informed of the “investigation for potential breaches of the standards of professional behaviour amounting to gross misconduct.”
However, the watchdog responsible for overseeing the police complaints system in England and Wales, clarified that investigations did not necessarily mean conduct proceedings or criminal charges would follow.
It said the status of each officer would remain under review throughout the investigation.
IOPC’s regional director Sal Naseem said such allegations were “extremely concerning” and would be subject to a robust and independent investigation, given that officers were committed to maintaining “exemplary standards of conduct, integrity and professionalism.”
The watchdog continued to encourage officers to report any situation in which they witnessed colleagues falling below standards they should adhere to, Naseem said.
But did not provide more details of the “ongoing work”, saying “it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
The announcement of the investigations comes days after two police officers were sentenced over offensive messages shared in a WhatsApp group.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley had last month taken serious note of the findings that the force’s internal disciplinary system was racist and misogynistic.
He said Scotland Yard officers involved in such offences should be sacked.