Bigoted police officers fired after secret tapes revealed enough homophobic, racist and sexist slurs ‘to last a lifetime’
Police officers who made enough racist, sexist and homophobic comments to “last a lifetime” have been sacked for gross misconduct.
The officers mocked LGBT+ people as “queers” and “horrible tranny faggots”, as well joking about migrants drowning, referring to a Black colleague as a “mixed breed” of dog with “forged Nigerian documents”, and called women as “sluts” and “whores”.
The trio, who all worked for a “toxic” unit at Hampshire police, were secretly bugged in 2018 and found to regularly engage in these “offensive” conversations. They were found guilty of gross misconduct in December 2020.
At a misconduct hearing, it was heard a “toxic, abhorrent culture” developed with officers using offensive terms for women, Black people, immigrants, disabled, gay and transgender people as well as foreign nationals.
Jason Beer QC, prosecuting, said the only Black police officer was referred to with racist tropes and references to slavery. Women were also described using derogatory terms.
Three police officers have now been fired and two others would have been sacked had they not already left their roles, the BBC reports.
The offices of Hampshire’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit were bugged for 24 days in 2018 and the devices picked up “homophobic, racist and sexist” conversations.
A number of other Hampshire police officers referred to the unit as a “lads’ pad”, the panel heard, and during the time it was bugged there was “enough profanity, casual sexism and racism to last a lifetime”.
Det Sgt Oliver Lage, Det Sgt Gregory Willcox and PC James Oldfield have been dismissed while retired Det Insp Tim Ireson and former PC Craig Bannerman were the two who had previously left the force.
Another officer who sent fake pornographic images of the royal family to his colleagues has been issued with a written warning.
Panel chair John Bassett said the officers’ behaviour was “shameful” and that police could not “pick and choose the standards they will abide by”.
Chief constable Olivia Pinkney said that bugging the unit had revealed a “catalogue of sexist, racist, homophobic and ableist language and commentary that has rightly shocked us all”.
She added: “These officers have failed to deliver on the promise they made to uphold fundamental human rights and accord equal respect to all people.
“[They] have undermined the trust and confidence of our communities and damaged the reputations of their colleagues.”
The six officers have apologised, but some said that swearing is part of the “fabric” of being in the police and one added he felt like he was being made “made an example of”.
A total of 20 officers have now faced some kind of disciplinary action.