An Asian police officer is reportedly suing the Metropolitan Police for sexual misconduct and discrimination after a senior colleague sent her an onslaught of racist and sexist messages.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) ruled on Thursday that Det Sgt Stephen Redgewell had behaved in a “predatory manner” by pursuing an “inappropriate relationship” with a female officer between 2015 and 2017.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the BBC that she felt “groomed and violated” after Redgewell, 54, sent her sexual images and hundreds of text messages over two years.
Redgewell resigned from the force in 2018 following reports that he had had sex with a “dominatrix” in the headquarters of the Met Police Federation.
The IOPC said in a news release after Thursday’s hearing that he would have been dismissed for gross misconduct if he had not resigned.
The watchdog said it examined 2000 text messages between Mr Redgewell and the officer and found them to be “sexual, anti-Semitic, racist, homophobic and sexist”.
Mr Redgewell sent the officer “inappropriate messages”, made repeated references to her race in a sexual context and suggested she should leave her husband, the IOPC said.
He also called her his “Asian chippy bird” and a “bossy Muslim woman”, according to the BBC, which has seen dozens of the messages.
Redgewell also reportedly sent her a fetishised picture of a woman dressed like a baby and highly-sexualised photos of the comic book characters Catwoman and Batman.
The officer told the broadcaster: “I felt dirty, really dirty, like I literally had a lot of dirt on me. I wanted to rip my skin out, it was disgusting. I felt so violated and degraded.”
Mr Redgewell had been assisting the woman with a work-related issue as part of his role in the Met Police Federation, a staff association representing officers of senior rank, the IOPC said.
She had post-traumatic stress disorder owing to a separate event while on the job and her weight had plummeted, according to the BBC.
When she raised this with him, he apparently told her she had “serious Stevie withdrawal symptoms” and said she looked like an “Asian babe drug addict”.
In her police victim statement, seen by the broadcaster, she said Mr Redgewell had used his high position in the force 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.”
The woman has reportedly retired from the force and is now taking legal action against the Met, including Mr Redgewell, over racial discrimination and sexual harassment.
In her victim impact statement and claim, she reportedly accuses the force of not taking the messages seriously at the time.
She says she believes his behaviour had been allowed to continue because of “internal corruption, racism, and homophobic support”.
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.
He said: “This type of appalling behaviour corrodes the public’s trust in policing and I have no doubt will appeal to fellow officers, the wider policing community and members of the public.”
“The former officer abused his senior position to send racially and sexually explicit messages to a colleague when she was at her most vulnerable. The colleague told us he manipulated her and made her feel dependent on him to the extent she had to engage with him in order to receive the assistance she required from the Metropolitan Police Federation.
“Not only did former DS Redgewell breach the standards expected from him as a police officer, he breached the trust placed in him by the policing community to represent the Metropolitan Police Federation.”
The IOPC also sent out a raft of written warnings to five other Met officers who “sent racist, misogynistic and homophobic text messages “, it said in a report published the same day. The officers made jokes cracked jokes “about rape, paedophilia, racism and homophobia”.
Commander Paul Betts, of the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards, said: “The Met has a zero tolerance policy for any behaviour that is racist, sexist or homophobic and it is right DS Redgewell would have been dismissed without notice if he had still been a serving officer.”
A spokesman also said: “The Metropolitan Police Service received an employment trial claim in September 2018 from a former detective constable alleging race and sex discrimination and victimisation.
“A date for the Employment Tribunal Final Hearing will be set in due course. At this stage, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
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