Former officer who sent ‘sexually explicit messages' to female colleague guilty of gross misconduct
A former detective sergeant who sent “racially and sexually explicit messages” to a female officer has been found guilty of gross misconduct.
A misconduct panel said Detective Sergeant Stephen Redgewell, 54, who resigned from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in November 2018, would have been dismissed without notice if he had still been a serving officer.
The hearing found the former detective sergeant “abused his position” as deputy general secretary and treasurer of the Metropolitan Police Federation (MPF) by “behaving in a predatory manner” towards the woman he was representing.
An investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) found Det Sgt Redgewell sent “inappropriate messages” to the female officer, making several references to her race in a sexual context, calling her an ‘Asian babe’ and suggested the woman should leave her husband.
“He also sent pictures of a sexual nature, non-sexual pictures of himself, photographs of an officer he referred to as a ‘Muslim babe’, messages relating to that officer’s race, and messages which can be categorised as anti-Semitic, racist, homophobic and sexist,” said the IOPC.
The IOPC investigation, which concluded in August 2018, examined more than 2,000 text messages between the former officer and the woman he was representing, finding evidence that he sent “numerous racially and sexually charged messages”. The messages were sent between October 2015 and September 2017, with the majority of messages being sent in January and February 2017.
IOPC regional director for London Sal Naseem said: “At a time when a vulnerable colleague needed assistance, Stephen Redgewell, who had risen to the senior position of deputy general secretary and treasurer within the MPF, abused his position by behaving in a predatory manner. This type of appalling behaviour corrodes the public’s trust in policing and I have no doubt will appal 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 MPF.
“Not only did former Det Sgt 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 MPF. These breaches were so serious we note the panel would have dismissed him without notice had he still been a serving officer and he will now be placed on the barred list.”
Following a referral from the MPS in December 2017, the IOPC began examining Det Sgt Redgewell’s actions in his capacity as a federation representative when he assisted the woman who was in a vulnerable position relating to a work issue.
“We looked at whether the contact between the former officer and the woman was appropriate, whether he used his position to influence or delay work matters and whether his colleague was treated differently owing to her ethnicity,” said the IOPC.
“As part of our investigation IOPC investigators interviewed Det Sgt Redgewell. The woman was also interviewed.
“We passed a copy of our final report and its findings to the MPS which agreed with us that the former officer had a case to answer for gross misconduct and arranged for a misconduct panel to hear the evidence.”
On Wednesday (December 16) the police panel, presided over by an independent legally qualified chair and assisted by an independent representative appointed by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime along with a police superintendent, found Det Sgt Redgewell’s “unacceptable behaviour” amounted to gross misconduct.
It was alleged that between October 2015 and October 2017, former Det Sgt Redgewell engaged in a course of conduct by which “he sought to establish or pursue an improper sexual or emotional relationship” with an officer he was representing in his role as a federation representative.
The panel found the former detective sergeant’s conduct amounted to a breach of standards of professional behaviour in respect of equality and diversity, discreditable conduct and authority, respect and courtesy. He will now be placed on the policing barred list.
Commander Paul Betts, of the MPS Directorate of Professional Standards, said: “The actions of former Det Sgt Redgewell fell well below the standards expected by the Met and the public we serve.
“He abused his position as a federation representative to pursue a relationship with a female officer, who he was assisting with a work issue. This unacceptable behaviour was compounded by the fact Det Sgt Redgewell knew the woman was vulnerable at the time.
“The language used in text messages and conversations over the period of this relationship were also extremely offensive and have absolutely no place in the Metropolitan Police.
“The Met has a zero tolerance policy for any behaviour that is racist, sexist or homophobic and it is right Det Sgt Redgewell would have been dismissed without notice if he had still been a serving officer.”