Ex-Met Police officer arrested over racist WhatsApp chaton October 6, 2022 at 5:32 pm

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Rob Lewis had been suspended after a BBC investigation revealed he had been posting racist content on WhatsApp.

Rob Lewis

A ex-Met Police officer, suspended after a BBC investigation revealed he had been posting racist content on WhatsApp, has been arrested.

Rob Lewis, now a Home Office official, is being held on suspicion of offences under the Communications Act and misconduct in a public office.

BBC Newsnight has seen racist messages about flooding in Pakistan, as well as Harry and Meghan, shared in the chat.

The Home Office suspended him, calling the messages “vile and deplorable”.

It said it had “a zero-tolerance approach to anyone displaying racist or discriminatory behaviour”.

Rob Lewis is understood to have created the group chat, which also included other former Met police officers.

Newsnight has been passed dozens of messages, by a member of the group. Many are too offensive to show. Some contain the very strongest racial slurs.

Some of the posts reference the government’s Rwanda policy, while others joke about recent flooding in Pakistan, which left almost 1,700 people dead. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also feature in several memes, alongside racist language.

Several of the members of the WhatsApp group used to work for the Diplomatic Protection Group (DPG), a specialist operations branch of the Met that guards the Houses of Parliament and protects ministers.

Newsnight understands serving police officers were part of the group in question until recently, but many left following the murder of Sarah Everard, last year. Ms Everard was murdered by Wayne Couzens, who was a member of the same specialist branch.

The unit has since changed its name and is now called the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection (PaDP).

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