Metropolitan Police Service officers admit misconduct in public office in connection with crime scene photographs
A Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officer and a former officer have admitted they took photographs at the scene of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry’s murders and subsequently shared them.
The criminal convictions of Police Constable Jamie Lewis and former Police Constable Deniz Jaffer, based on the MPS North East Command, follow our four-month investigation.
The officers appeared at the Old Bailey today Tuesday, 2 November, to formally enter their guilty pleas to the charge of misconduct in public office and will be sentenced in December.
IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem said: "As always, my thoughts and sympathies remain with the family and friends of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry.
"Their deaths have caused unimaginable heartache, loss and grief.
"The actions of PC Jamie Lewis and former officer Deniz Jaffer, were sickening. They should have been protecting a crime scene but instead they treated it with contempt and disrespect.
"In doing so they insulted Nicole and Bibaa, their families, their loved ones, and their colleagues.
"There can be no place in policing for anyone behaving this way.
"In addition to the criminal convictions today, we found PC Lewis and former officer Deniz Jaffer had a case to answer for gross misconduct. A separate investigation concluded three police constables have a case to answer for misconduct as they were either aware of, received or viewed the inappropriate photographs and failed to challenge or report them.
"These officers have further undermined public confidence and damaged trust in the Metropolitan Police Service at a time when policing standards have never been under such close scrutiny.
"The IOPC’s role is to provide independent oversight of the police on behalf of the public, by holding officers accountable for their actions and identifying where policing can be improved.
"Sadly, as today’s events highlight, police officers falling below the standards of behaviour expected of them are not one-off events.
"A culture where some officers do not see anything wrong with sharing deeply offensive messages, and where others feel unable or unwilling to challenge this, has to change.
"And it has to change now.
"Last year we made two recommendations to the Met to tackle inappropriate behaviours and culture at the station where Lewis and Jaffer were based.
"We understand changes have now been implemented across the North East Command and the Met is seeking to implement our recommendations throughout the service.
"This is welcome and those changes cannot come quickly enough.
"It should be the norm for the policing community to call out bad behaviour when they see it – not the exception.
"Officers must feel protected and supported to do this in an environment where there is zero tolerance. And, as we also recommended, senior officers must take firm action to tackle these problems.
"It is crucial that the Met learns from this incident. One of the legacies of this shocking case must be that it acts as a catalyst for long-lasting changes in attitudes, culture and behaviour within the force.
"The restoration of public confidence is the least owed to the memory of Nicole and Bibaa."
In total 13 officers were under investigation for potential breaches of standards of professional behaviour resulting from four separate investigations.
In addition to the criminal convictions, we found PC Lewis and former officer Jaffer had a case to answer for gross misconduct.
Our separate investigation into the conduct of a further six officers who allegedly were either aware of, received or viewed the inappropriate photographs and failed to challenge or report them concluded three officers, all PCs, had a case to answer for misconduct.
Other investigations which stemmed from, but were not connected to, the original investigation have concluded. We found evidence that officers may have shared or used answers prior to a police driving exam.
We also found evidence one officer may have taken and shared a photograph at the scene of a sudden death, and that two other officers were either aware of, received or viewed that photograph.
Our enquiries are complete and we have shared our findings with the MPS.
We also found evidence a further PC has a case to answer for gross misconduct for his alleged use of discriminatory language within a WhatsApp group.
The MPS will now arrange for all the disciplinary proceedings to take place.
Former PC Jaffer took four photographs on his personal mobile phone while he was positioned on the cordon in Fryent Country Park, Wembley, on 8 June 2020.
In the early hours of the morning he sent five photographs, one was a duplicate, to PC Lewis, who then used a mobile app to superimpose his face onto of one of the photographs which showed the sisters in the background.
PC Lewis shared photographs he had taken at the crime scene, which did not show the sisters, with a WhatsApp group entitled ‘A Team group’ consisting of 42 colleagues. PC Lewis used degrading and sexist language to describe the victims at the crime scene he was protecting. We know former officer Jaffer shared photographs he took of the sisters with two police colleagues and three members of the public.
Last week we announced the findings from our investigation into how the MPS handled calls from the sisters’ family and friends who were raising concerns for their welfare. You can read our findings here.
We conducted a criminal investigation following a referral from the MPS on 19 June 2020 following the murder of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry on 7 June 2020. We completed our investigation on 22 October 2020 when we referred a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service, which authorised the charges against PCs Lewis and Jaffer in April 2021, following our further investigatory work.