Met Police officer sues over sexual and racist texts

Met Police officer sues over sexual and racist texts

An Asian police officer is suing the Met Police for sexual harassment and discrimination after receiving “hundreds” of racist and sexist messages from a senior colleague.

The woman said she felt “groomed and violated” after Stephen Redgewell sent her sexual images over two years.

Det Sgt Redgewell represented her through his role as deputy general secretary of the Met Police Federation.

The Met said it had “zero tolerance” for racist and sexist behaviour.

Warning: This report includes racist and offensive language

Mr Redgewell, now 54, resigned from the force in 2018 following separate reports that he had had sex with a “dominatrix” in the headquarters of the Met Police Federation.

On Thursday, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) found he had behaved in a “predatory manner” by pursuing an “inappropriate relationship” with the female officer he was supporting about a work issue between 2015 and 2017.

The Met said, had he not resigned, he would have been dismissed for gross misconduct.

BBC News has seen dozens of the 2,000 text messages sent between Mr Redgewell and the officer, who cannot be named for legal reasons, which were examined as part of the IOPC’s investigation.

The messages were found to be sexual, anti-Semitic, racist, homophobic and sexist.

Mr Redgewell had repeatedly sent the officer highly-sexualised photos of the comic book characters Catwoman and Batman, including a mask and “raunchy mug” with her name on it.

In the exchanges, he described her as his “Asian chippy bird”, a “bossy Muslim woman” and suggested she should leave her husband.

“I felt dirty, really dirty, like I literally had a lot of dirt on me,” she told the BBC.

“I wanted to rip my skin out, it was disgusting. I felt so violated and degraded.”

The officer, who has post-traumatic stress disorder owing to a separate event while on the job, said she had become so ill her weight had plummeted to an unhealthy size.

Mr Redgewell had been assisting her application for medical retirement as part of his role in the Met Police Federation, a staff association representing officers of senior rank.

When she raised her ill health, he told her she had “serious Stevie withdrawal symptoms” and said she looked like an “Asian babe drug addict”.

On one occasion, Mr Redgewell replied saying he should buy her nappies and sent a fetishised picture of a woman dressed like a baby.

The officer said in her police victim statement, seen by BBC News, that Mr Redgewell had used his high status in the police to “groom me, manipulate me, use me and emotionally abuse me”.

“I always felt like I couldn’t challenge him,” she wrote. “I felt trapped by him [and] imprisoned in this situation. He held a lot of power and…made sure I knew it.”

The woman, in her 30s, has since retired from the force and is taking legal action against the Met, including Mr Redgewell, over racial discrimination and sexual harassment.

In her victim impact statement and claim, she accuses the force of not taking the messages seriously at the time and believed his behaviour had been allowed to continue because of “internal corruption, racism, and homophobic support”.

“[They] had very strong, photographic and electronic evidence yet they sat on it for two months, ignoring me, and refusing to contact me,” she wrote in her complaint.

She had asked the police for safety measures to be put in place for her after Mr Redgewell had called her twice in the middle of the night, but says she was ignored.

“Throughout this whole process, I felt worthless,” she wrote. “It is no longer my shame or burden to carry, it is these people who facilitated this, it is for them to carry this.”

Lawrence Davies, of Equal Justice Solicitors, representing the officer, said: “Despite excellent work by the IOPC, former sergeant Redgewell was permitted to retire by the Met Police prior to the gross misconduct hearing despite abusing his office by his horrendous harassment of our very vulnerable female client.”

IOPC regional director for London Sal Naseem said Mr Redgewell had “abused his position by behaving in a predatory manner” and was now barred from the profession.

“This type of appalling behaviour corrodes the public’s trust in policing and I have no doubt [it] will appal fellow officers, the wider policing community and members of the public,” he said.

Commander Paul Betts, of the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards, said the force had a “zero tolerance policy for any behaviour that is racist, sexist or homophobic”.

The Met Police said it would be inappropriate to comment on ongoing legal proceedings and was awaiting a date for the final employment tribunal hearing.

Follow Rianna on Twitter @The_Crox

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