Tele: NSW Police WhatsApp group messages revealed in corruption investigation

Clickbait headlines on the Tele website for this included: ‘Worth the rape charge’ Sexist cop WhatsApp group’s vile language; ‘Sexist’ cop WhatsApp chat that will shock you

Discussing how many beverages it takes before a female colleague is “r**table” and “getting your grandma wings”: these are just two of the WhatsApp messages between NSW police officers which sparked a misconduct inquiry and ban on the messaging app. 

Jokes about whether a woman on a date was “worth the rape charge” or whether she gagging for anything” were just two of the highly sexualised remarks in a NSW cops’ WhatsApp group which has led to a misconduct inquiry, the sacking of two officers and a ban on the messaging app across the entire police force.

Other remarks among the frontline police at a Sydney station included evaluating whether female colleagues “r**table” and a discussion of how a man was “loaded up” and wrongly charged.

That man, who spent seven months in jail, Erhan Sevgin, 47, is now suing NSW Police.

A group of at least nine general duties police officers based at Botany Bay Local Area Command started the group chat in 2017.

The group, named “Patrol Fairies 2.0” and later changed to “Dog Pound”, discussed ­benign work and roster issues but also exchanged sexualised remarks about colleagues and joked about rape.

The Sunday Telegraph obtained a transcript of the chat history after it was tendered during an Industrial Relations Commission hearing this year. The group regularly discussed the arrival of new officers at their station, including whether they were “r**table”.

“She’s not hot,” Constable Calvin Dunne, who started the group, wrote on July 4, 2017.

“But not ugly.”

Another (female) constable replied: “So just average. R**table after a few beverages.”

Regarding a senior officer, one constable said the woman was “a bit old”.

“That’s not old,” Constable Dunne replied.

“That’s a female sexual peak. Yeah she’s 30 hahaha she’s a mad flirt as well.”

Another officer replied: “Get your grandma wings.”

On July 23, 2017, one officer shared a photo of a woman, who wasn’t a police officer, he had been out with the night before.

One officer commented “she’d be worth the rape charge” while Constable Jordan Crotty wrote “chick (sic) who post stuff like that are gagging for anything”.

The officer replied that he didn’t “f**k her” because she was blind drunk and a childhood friend.

“Doesn’t matter if drunk she will want it,” Constable Crotty replied.

NSW Police has gone to great lengths in recent years to improve its culture in the ranks. At least one of the officers involved, according to documents tendered to the IRC, defended the chat as “muster room talk” and “normal chat”.

The damning private group chat came to light when one of the officers showed the chat history to their boss in late 2017, sparking a Professional Standards Command investigation. The most concerning information senior police found was Constable Crotty’s description of charging Sevgin in Mascot in July 2017.

She described how the “c**t got pumped” but the statement of police facts, tendered in court to support criminal charges, would show Sevgin rammed her with his bike.

Constable Dunne asked: “Did he ask for his phone and watch back?”

Constable Crotty replied: “C**t wouldn’t dare today.”

Asked what she charged him with, Constable Crotty said six offences, including malicious damage, use offensive weapon to avoid apprehension, destroy or damage property and stolen goods in custody.

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Constable Crotty and others then joked how it was a “load-up” — a reference to police laying an excessive number of charges on someone.

“Massive load up haha,” Constable Crotty said.

According to documents tendered in the IRC, Sevgin was actually charged with 24 offences and was convicted on all.

This information came to light before Sevgin was convicted and raised serious doubt over the legitimacy of the charges. Yet the police prosecution proceeded with the case against Sevgin.

He pleaded guilty to all charges and spent seven months in custody.

It wasn’t until the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) stepped in that the police prosecutors handed the WhatsApp material to Sevgin’s defence solicitor.

Sevgin appealed and the convictions were quashed.

When the case was returned to the Local Court for rehearing in August last year, the prosecutor withdrew all the charges. But by that stage Sevgin, who is well known to police around Mascot and was most recently convicted for drug driving, had spent months behind bars.

The LECC and NSW Police were at loggerheads over how the WhatsApp saga was handled. LECC, according to it’s 2019-20 annual ­report, believed disciplinary action should have been taken against a detective inspector and police prosecutor who knew about the damning WhatsApp material but failed to disclose it to Sevgin’s solicitor. The inspector has since retired from the force.

Two police officers who were part of the WhatsApp group were sacked from the police force in 2019.

Constable Dunne, who formed the WhatsApp group and was sacked, is currently challenging the Commissioner’s no-confidence mot­ion in the Industrial Relations Commission.

Constable Ben Vizzone, who was part of the chat group, took the same action against his dismissal but it is understood the matter was settled out of court.

The Sunday Telegraph understands Constable Crotty faced internal disciplinary action over the WhatsApp group and was placed on ­restricted duties.

“An investigation was conducted by the Professional Standards Command and action was taken against a number of officers involved,” a NSW Police spokeswoman said.

“However, as the (Sevgin civil) matter is still before the courts, we cannot comment further.”

The fallout from the case has seen a force-wide ban on police using WhatsApp.

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