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Officer sprayed disinfectant on black colleague’s groin area before telling another African to ‘go back to their country’

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Toby Caswell

A former Metropolitan Police constable who was sacked after asking a colleague “why don’t you go back to your own country” has failed in an appeal against his dismissal.

Toby Caswell was found to have belittled, mocked and humiliated officers between 2019 and 2021 at a disciplinary tribunal last year and was sacked for gross misconduct. He brought an appeal against the dismissal to a tribunal in London on Wednesday, March 20, but the panel upheld the ruling.

Rachel Crasnow KC, chairwoman of the panel, told the hearing: “We cannot say there is any unreasonable decision or breach of procedure here.”

The disciplinary hearing in March 2023 was told Mr Caswell was accused of telling Pc Rhoobin Langeveldt, who had just returned from a visit to his native South Africa: “Why don’t you just go back to your country?”, and threatened to resign if he had to work on shift with him.

The hearing was told Mr Caswell claimed he had asked the officer: “Would you ever want to go home to be closer to your family?”

Ailsa Williamson, representing Mr Caswell, argued that new evidence brought inconsistencies to Pc Langeveldt’s recollections which would have “shifted the balance in Caswell’s favour”.

Pc Langeveldt said he had contacted a sergeant immediately about the incident but Ms Williamson said the sergeant in question had left the force before the holiday to South Africa took place and statements from other sergeants claimed no such conversation took place.

Mrs Crasnow said the new evidence did not undermine Pc Langeveldt’s recollections of the racist comment.

Ms Williamson also said the misconduct panel had “rather fudged” the significance of a witness statement submitted by Pc Abbey Harvey, who had heard the conversation and later attempted to explain to Pc Langeveldt that he had misunderstood.

Under cross-examination, Pc Harvey conceded she may not have heard the whole conversation and the misconduct panel dismissed the evidence as inconclusive.

Mr Caswell previously admitted unnecessarily instructing Pc Langeveldt to collect a sample of faeces found at a home during a welfare check, later saying it was intended as a joke.

In another incident, Mr Caswell told Pc Langeveldt to turn over a decomposed body, causing the cadaver to split open, but denied the panel’s finding that he had teased his co-worker about the incident afterwards.

The former officer also admitted spraying disinfectant on the genital area of a black officer’s trousers and making phone calls to another colleague at inappropriate times such as during briefings.

Mr Caswell will remain on the Barred List held by the College of Policing.

-Samuel Montgomery

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