Six police officers ‘caught on tape using homophobic, transphobic and racist slurs’ after internal sting operation
Six Hampshire Police officers were recorded using racist, transphobic and homophobic slurs, a misconduct review has heard.
The six officers who serve on the police force’s serious and organised crime unit (SOCU) are alleged to have mocked gay men as “queers” and derided “horrible tranny faggots”.
A police misconduct hearing on Monday (October 19) also heard that they joked about migrants drowning, referred to a Black colleague as a “mixed breed” of dog with “forged Nigerian documents”, and referred to women as “sluts” and “whores” between March and April 2018, HampshireLive reports.
The group of six men, including two senior officers within the unit, are accused of breaching professional standards by making comments of a discriminatory nature. The comments were only uncovered when a listening device was placed inside the Basingstoke office after complaints by other members of staff.
One officer was allegedly recorded joking about a Black colleague being “brought to England in a crate and deposited at London Zoo.”
Racist, sexist and homophobic messages were also uncovered by a search of work-issued mobile phones and email accounts, as well as a secret WhatsApp group operated by the officers, the hearing was told.
Lack of leadership led to ‘toxic and abhorrent culture’.
Jason Beer QC, representing Hampshire Constabulary, told the hearing: “The SOCU office is in relative isolation to the rest of the force due to the covert nature of their activities.
“A lack of leadership and supervision appears to have led to a toxic and abhorrent culture developing. A toxic and abhorrent culture is in breach of values and standards of the police service.
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“There was consistent use of profanities and officers could turn up drunk after staying out to watch the boxing before arriving for a morning shift.”
According to the Hampshire Chronicle, he added: “It was a plain nasty unit. The officers joked about migrants having a long swim and drown in the sea. It was a unit that was disrespectful.”
The six officers — detective sergeant Oliver Lage, detective sergeant Gregory Willcox, PC James Oldfield, trainee detective constable Andrew Ferguson, now-retired detective inspector Tim Ireson and former PC Craig Bannerman — all deny charges of gross misconduct.
Iresone and Wilcox are also charged with failing to ensure the team adhered to professional standards, while Wilcox is additionally charged with having falsely recorded hours and overtime.
A Hampshire Constabulary spokesperson said: “It is alleged that the breaches of the standards of professional behaviour outlined are so serious that, if proven, dismissal would be justified and, as such, it is alleged that the behaviour amounts to gross misconduct.”
The hearing is set to continue for three weeks.