Police officers ‘could have phones randomly checked’ to weed out sexists and racists

·2 min read
Shot of the back of a police officer's jacket with the word police written across the back
Shot of the back of a police officer's jacket with the word police written across the back

Police officers could have their phones randomly checked to weed out sexists and racists, the chief inspector of constabulary has said. 

Sir Tom Winsor told the Times newspaper spot checks could deter officers who used their private and work phones to share crime scene photos or racist, sexist and homophobic content.

On Tuesday, PCs Deniz Jaffer and Jamie Lewis admitted taking a series of pictures of Nicole Smallman, 27, and Bibaa Henry, 49, after they were murdered in a Wembley park last June.

Both officers shared images on WhatsApp and Lewis superimposed his face on one of the photographs sent – unsolicited – to a female colleague.

Composite picture of Pc Deniz Jaffer (left) and Pc Jamie Lewis outside the Old Bailey in London, where they admitted misconduct in a public office. Picture date: Tuesday November 2, 2021.
PC Deniz Jaffer (left) and PC Jamie Lewis outside the Old Bailey in London. (PA)

Sir Tom suggested privacy should be waived to check phones and likened it to random drug testing.

He said: "Let’s say rather than put the information on an electronic message, the person in question wrote it down, put it in an envelope and posted it to another person.

"Nobody would seriously assert that the paper correspondence should be confidential in all circumstances.

"The right to privacy of your correspondence, under the Human Rights Convention, is not an absolute right."

Sir Tom added authorities were considering implementing higher standards to become a police officer.

The force is also under intense pressure after serving police officer Wayne Couzens was found guilty of kidnapping, raping and murdering Sarah Everard, 33.

Sir Tom previously confirmed Couzens was known as “the rapist” by other officers at times during his career.

Former rail regulator Tom Winsor with a copy of his review into police pay and conditions, at Church House in Westminster, central London. Skilled police officers working unsocial shifts should be paid up to 2,000 more than at the moment, the most wide-ranging review of their pay and conditions in 30 years said today.   (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
Chief inspector of constabulary Sir Tom Winsor. (Getty)

Home Secretary Priti Patel launched an independent inquiry into the “systematic failures” that allowed Couzens to be employed as a police officer.

The Home Office said the inquiry would be made up of two parts – first examining Couzens’ previous behaviour and establishing a “definitive account of his conduct leading up to his conviction, as well as any opportunities missed, drawing on the Independent Office for Police Conduct’s (IOPC) investigations, once concluded.”

The second will look at any specific problems raised by the first part of the inquiry, which could include wider issues across policing – such as vetting practices, professional standards and discipline, and workplace behaviour.

Watch: 'Get the rot out of police', mother urges Cressida Dick

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