Metropolitan Police officers could face criminal charges over claims that “inappropriate” photos were taken at the scene of a double murder.
A total of 13 officers are under investigation in the wake of a probe into allegations of misconduct following the deaths of sisters Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman, 27.
It is alleged “inappropriate and non-official” pictures were taken at the murder scene and then shared on WhatsApp with fellow officers and members of the public.
After the claims first emerged, two officers were suspended and a further six became embroiled in an Independent Office for Police Conduct investigation.
As a result of enquiries, another five police officers from the North East Command have been put under investigation “for possible breaches of standards of professional behaviour relating to honesty and integrity and equality and diversity”, the Met says. These allegations are unrelated to the murder scene pictures.
A file of evidence has been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service to considered whether any criminal charges should be brought against the two police officers at the centre of the storm.
Scotland Yard said today that while awaiting the CPS decision it has taken action to address problems within the North East Command.
“As soon as this matter came to light, the MPS took action on the North East Command to remind officers of their responsibilities in using WhatsApp and other social media channels”, it said in a statement.
“Local senior management spoke to officers on the command to outline what is expected of them in terms of their behaviour as well as encouraging anyone who has a concern about a colleague’s behaviour to come forward.”
The IOPC made recommendations to the Met on November 16, to ensure officers were adhering to the code of ethics, both and off duty, and to review whether supervisors and senior management at a particular police station are “taking personal responsibility to identify and eliminate patterns of inappropriate behaviour whilst simultaneously promoting a safe and open culture which makes clear to officers and staff that they are duty bound to challenge and report behaviour that does not align with the Code of Ethics”.
The force said the recommendations had already been “largely addressed already” across the North East Command, and senior officers are overseeing the process.
Complaints have also been made about the handling of missing person reports by the dead women’s friends and family. An officer from the North West Command is under investigation, but not suspended or on restricted duties.
Danyal Hussein, 18, from Blackheath has been charged with the murders of both women. He is due to stand trial in June next year.