Council Leader Welcomes Jail Sentences for Racist Police Officers

Pair shared negative messages about Hounslow on WhatsApp group

Councillor Shantanu Rajawat
Councillor Shantanu Rajawat

The Leader of Hounslow Council, Councillor Shantanu Rajawat, has welcomed the handing out of jail sentence for two local police officers who shared racist, sexist, Islamophobic and homophobic messages.

In a WhatsApp group ‘Bottle and Stoppers’, that rapist and murderer Wayne Couzens was also a member of, they made a number of negative comments about Hounslow when they were posted to work there including calling it ‘a Somali s***hole’.

35-year-old PC Jonathon Cobban, and ex-PC Joel Borders, 45, were found guilty of the communications offences in September but given prison terms this Wednesday (2 November).

Cobban and Borders, who were both attached to the West Area Command Unit which serves Hounslow and Ealing, were found guilty of three counts of sending grossly offensive messages on a public communications network contrary to S127 of the Communications Act 2003 and sentenced to 12 weeks’ imprisonment.

They had been charged with sending the messages in 2019 following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

They were immediately released on bail pending appeal.

Councillor Shantanu Rajawat said, “We welcome the news of the sentencing of the police officers in relation to grossly offensive WhatsApp messages being sent by them, including some referencing Hounslow and its communities.

“Racism, and misogyny have no place anywhere in a civilised society, let alone within the ranks of those sworn to protect and serve. Misconduct by police officers is completely unacceptable.

“We want everyone to feel safe in our borough and are engaging with senior police officers to understand the steps being taken to root out this sort of toxic culture from within police ranks.

“I also feel sure that the vast majority of police officers in Hounslow are hard-working, decent people who will be deeply offended by the conduct of these officers.”

Cobban and Borders made jokes about tasering children, the disabled and animals leading the judge at their trial to say, "They encapsulated the full range of prejudiced views, racism, misogyny, ableism and homophobia.

"The persons to whom these messages relate will undoubtedly been caused great distress by knowing police officers find it funny to joke about them in such a deeply offensive manner.

"Significant harm has undoubtedly been caused to public confidence in policing as a result of these offences."

Their defence had been that this had been dark humour or banter and was never made to be taken seriously.

Commander Jon Savell, said, “I speak for all of the Met when I say I’m appalled at the disgusting messages. I am deeply sorry these officers have let down the public, and their Met colleagues, with their vile language and behaviour. We welcome the sentence and it should serve as a reminder that we will investigate and work with the IOPC and CPS to prosecute any of our officers who break the law in this way.

“Our officers swear an oath to accord all people respect and we demand the highest standards of conduct from them. Those who corrupt us with unacceptable attitudes, language, and prejudices will be sought out and dealt with in the strongest possible terms.”

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November 3, 2022