Investigation report into offensive Whatsapp messages by officers linked to Wayne Couzens

Published: 06 Mar 2023

Following the conclusion of all criminal proceedings against former Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officer Wayne Couzens, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is today publishing its investigation report for Operation Argens.

Our investigation began after a download of Couzens’ phone following his arrest revealed evidence of a Whatsapp group involving six other MPS officers where messages, including racist and homophobic comments, and derogatory remarks aimed at domestic abuse victims, people with disabilities and women, were shared.

As a result of our investigation, in September 2022, former MPS officers Joel Borders and Jonathan Cobban were convicted of offences under the Communications Act 2003 and received prison sentences.

In December 2022, Borders and Cobban, and four other serving or former officers also faced gross misconduct proceedings in relation to the messages, resulting in dismissal rulings for all six who are now barred from policing.

This was a complex case involving officers from three police forces and we want to acknowledge those involved for their cooperation in getting the disciplinary hearing for the six officers arranged in a timely manner, following the conclusion of the criminal trial for former PC’s Borders and Cobban.

The IOPC did not investigate Wayne Couzens due to the criminal proceedings he was already facing relating to the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard.

As a result of reporting restrictions having ceased following the completion of criminal proceedings against Wayne Couzens, we can now mention the link to Couzens in our published report.

Here are links to our investigation report and our summary of conclusions.

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