Mother of murdered sisters tells Met Police to ‘get the rot out’ after officers admit taking photos of bodies
The mother of two murdered women whose bodies were photographed by Metropolitan Police officers has told the force to “get the rot out once and for all”.
Mina Smallman, a retired Anglican priest, said Scotland Yard ’s apologies for the handling of her daughters’ disappearance and officers’ subsequent actions was “too little, too late”.
Speaking outside the Old Bailey , she said: “You need to drill down and get the rot out once and for all. You are not above the law, you are not going to be protected.”
Asked if the Metropolitan Police commissioner should resign Ms Smallman said it was not the “right thing to do”.
She criticised Dame Cressida Dick for her “shoddy way of behaving and her response since all of this has come out“, but said that she should be kept in position to “do the job”.
Ms Smallman told reporters: “She has not contacted us to say I am really sorry. She has not spoken into this story at all.
“And it's shameful that the IOPC (Independent Office for Police Conduct) had to tell the Met they should apologise to us in their failings for the missing persons (investigation).
“Too little too late. Too little too late. When I was in a senior position, if my organisation or department failed, it was on me.
“I had to take the can for it. Well it's now time for them to take the can for it. They are beyond hope.”
Two constables pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office on Tuesday, after taking photos of the bodies of sisters Bibaa Henry , 46, and Nicole Smallman , 27, and sharing them with colleagues and friends.
A watchdog’s investigation into the actions of PC Deniz Jaffer, 47, and PC Jamie Lewis, 33, has spiralled out into other probes, and three constables face misconduct proceedings for failing to report the photos.
Jaffer took four photographs and Lewis superimposed his own face onto a picture with the victims in the background.
He sent the doctored image to Jaffer, who forwarded it to a female officer at the scene.
Jaffer showed one of the photos to a male officer as they left the park and sent others to three friends on WhatsApp.
Lewis, who used “degrading and sexist” language to describe the victims, also shared crime scene pictures with a WhatsApp group of more than 40 officers called the “A Team”.
Scotland Yard said Jaffer had already resigned but both he and Lewis would be put through accelerated misconduct hearings, which are expected to result in their formal dismissal.
Dame Cressida said: “Our thoughts today are with the family and friends of Bibaa and Nicole. I deeply regret that at a time when they were grieving the loss of their loved ones who were taken in such awful circumstances, they faced additional distress caused by the actions of two police officers.
“What former PC Jaffer and PC Lewis chose to do that day was utterly unprofessional, disrespectful and deeply insensitive. I know that is the view of colleagues across the Met who utterly condemn this behaviour.
“They have pleaded guilty today to a serious criminal offence and sentencing will follow in due course. I apologised to Bibaa and Nicole’s family in June last year and, on behalf of the Met, I apologise again today.”
The case has led to IOPC investigations into the alleged sharing of a photograph from the scene of another death, discriminatory language in a WhatsApp group and the suspected sharing of answers ahead of a police driving exam.
It comes after the murder of Sarah Everard by serving police officer Wayne Couzens also triggered a series of investigations into other officers.
Five police officers from four different forces are facing disciplinary action over messages about the murderer, who received a whole-life prison sentence after admitting to the kidnap, rape and murder.
A constable who staffed a cordon as part of the Everard investigation allegedly used WhatsApp “to share with colleagues an inappropriate graphic, depicting violence against women” in relation to the case.
Another probationary constable had a case to answer for “allegedly sharing the graphic and failing to challenge it” and will also be subject to a misconduct meeting.
In April this year, the IOPC warned officers about the “unacceptable use of social media” after numerous cases involving the posting of offensive and inappropriate material.
The Metropolitan Police announced a review of its “standards and culture” following the murder of Sarah Everard, which is also subject to a separate public inquiry.
A spokesperson said officers in its North East Command, which Jaffer and Lewis were part of, have been “reminded of their responsibilities in using WhatsApp and other social media channels” and told to conform to a code of ethics on and off duty.
“Across the Metropolitan Police, all officers have been reminded that the standards they are expected to uphold apply at all times, including when they are off duty and when they are communicating on social media and using messaging apps,” a statement added.
IOPC regional director Sal Naseem said Jaffer and Lewis had “further undermined public confidence and damaged trust in the Metropolitan Police at a time when policing standards have never been under such close scrutiny”.
“Sadly, as today’s events highlight, police officers falling below the standards of behaviour expected of them are not one-off events,” he added.
”A culture where some officers do not see anything wrong with sharing deeply offensive messages, and where others feel unable or unwilling to challenge this, has to change. And it has to change now.”
Additional reporting by PA