Two police officers who have since resigned have pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office after taking inappropriate photographs at the scene of a double murder in Wembley.
In light of the convictions, the Met will now take immediate steps to put former PC Deniz Jaffer, who has resigned from the Met, and PC Jamie Lewis, before accelerated misconduct hearings.
Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “Our thoughts today are with the family and friends of Bibaa and Nicole.
I deeply regret that at a time when they were grieving the loss of their loved ones who were taken in such awful circumstances, they faced additional distress caused by the actions of two police officers.
“What former PC Jaffer and PC Lewis chose to do that day was utterly unprofessional, disrespectful and deeply insensitive.
I know that is the view of colleagues across the Met who utterly condemn this behaviour.
“They have pleaded guilty today to a serious criminal offence and sentencing will follow in due course. I apologised to Bibaa and Nicole’s family in June last year and, on behalf of the Met, I apologise again today.
“Now that the judicial process has got to this stage, we are able to take the officers through an accelerated misconduct process”.
Former PC Jaffer, 47 and PC Lewis, 32, appeared at the Old Bailey on Tuesday, 2 November where they pleaded guilty to the offence. They were charged by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). They will be sentenced on a date to be confirmed in December.
On Wednesday, 17 June 2020 the DPS was informed of allegations that non-official and inappropriate photographs had been taken by police at the crime scene in Fryent Country Park, Wembley, in relation to the murders of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, who were killed in the early hours of Saturday, 6 June 2020.
The MPS made a referral to the IOPC, which launched an independent investigation.
PC Jaffer and PC Lewis were arrested on Monday, 22 June 2020 by the IOPC on suspicion of misconduct in public office and subsequently released under investigation.
A file was referred by the IOPC to the CPS and both officers were charged on Wednesday, 28 April 2021.
Following their arrest, the officers – who were both based on the North East Command – were suspended from duty. Former PC Jaffer resigned and left the Met on Wednesday, 18 August.
Under the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2020, serving officers are allowed to resign or retire without requiring permission.
He will still face an accelerated misconduct hearing, alongside PC Lewis.
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.
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.
This has subsequently been repeated across the whole Met.
The IOPC investigation made two fast-time learning recommendations to the MPS.
The first was to ensure all officers within a single police station in the North East Command conform to the expectations of their behaviour under the Code of Ethics, whilst on and off duty, and are aware that failure to do so could severely damage the public’s confidence in policing.
The second was for the MPS to review whether supervisors and senior management at that 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.
These recommendations, which were received on Monday, 16 November 2020, have been implemented, not just within the single police station but across the entire North East Command.
In addition, across the MPS, all officers have been reminded that the standards they are expected to uphold apply at all times, including when they are off duty and when they are communicating on social media and using messaging apps.
Senior officers will continue work to ensure these recommendations are fully implemented throughout the organisation.
This is being overseen by the DPS’s prevention and learning team.