A group of police officers are under investigation over allegations of inappropriate WhatsApp messages.

Officers from British Transport Police based in Brighton are currently suspended after “potentially offensive” messages were circulated in a WhatsApp group last month.

The five officers are now being investigated for potential gross misconduct by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

Peter Fulton, head of professional standards at British Transport Police, said: “In October 2023 we were made aware of potentially offensive messages circulating amongst officers within a WhatsApp group.


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“We subsequently made an immediate voluntary referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) to investigate the matter further.

“Five British Transport Police officers have been suspended whilst the IOPC conduct their investigation into potential gross misconduct.”

The investigation comes after other officers have previously been found guilty of sending racist messages in WhatsApp groups.

Five Metropolitan Police officers pleaded guilty and a sixth was found guilty of sending grossly offensive racist messages, including about the Duchess of Sussex.

Two other Met Police officers were also sacked over discriminatory messages sent about Katie Price and her son Harvey.

British Transport Police said that they had voluntarily referred the case to the IOPC who are continuing to investigate.

The IOPC stressed the investigation does not necessarily mean that disciplinary proceedings will follow.

An IOPC spokesperson said: “In October 2023, we began an independent investigation following a voluntary conduct referral from the British Transport Police (BTP), relating to offensive language and attitudes shared within a WhatsApp group and for failing to challenge this behaviour.

“As part of our ongoing investigation, five BTP officers have at this stage been advised that they are under investigation for potential gross misconduct.

“This does not necessarily mean that disciplinary proceedings will follow. Once we have completed our investigation, we will decide whether any officers should face disciplinary proceedings.”