This week the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) condemned Met Police officers for a range of bad behaviour, including racism, misogyny (hatred of women), bullying, harassment and offensive social media messages.

The inquiry found evidence of messages exchanged between officers that were often highly sexual, violent and discriminatory. The IOPC said the messages included:

  • Messages between police officers about attending a festival dressed as known sex offenders – sent within a WhatsApp group containing 17 police officers
  • Numerous messages about rape within WhatsApp and Facebook chat groups
  • Homophobic comments
  • Use of words that could be considered racist, hateful towards women or constituting disability discrimination

The police officers involved defended the messages as “banter”. So often we hear of people trying to excuse bad behaviour as “banter” and it’s not ok.

What is banter?
In the dictionary “banter” is defined as: The playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks. Banter involves people with equal power, where there is no hurt involved and no intent to cause harm. 

So how is this relevant to us at Carnival UK?
Working in a supportive environment often includes having a bit of a laugh, but there’s a difference between “banter” and bullying. In no way are we saying that people can’t make jokes, but just be aware of going too far. What might seem funny to one person could be deeply uncomfortable to another, so it’s important we Respect and Protect each other and think about what we say. 

It’s not banter if: 

  • You would be upset if someone said it to you
  • It’s hurtful
  • You’re not friends with the other person
  • Someone’s asked you to stop
  • The other person isn’t laughing
  • It focuses on someone’s insecurities

See something, do something
Seen something that doesn’t feel right? It’s time to Speak Up. Click here to find out everything you need to know.

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