Five police officers in specialist unit sacked for ‘abhorrent’ conduct

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Five out of six members of a “toxic” specialist police unit have been sacked for their “shameful” discriminatory language.

The officers from the Serious Organised Crime Unit (Socu) in Basingstoke, Hampshire, were recorded making racist, sexist, ableist and other inappropriate comments.

An anonymous complaint about their behaviour prompted Hampshire Constabulary to launch an investigation and the unit’s office was bugged.

A disciplinary tribunal found the six officers had committed gross misconduct with their “abhorrent” comments.

Detective sergeant Oliver Lage, detective sergeant Gregory Willcox and Pc James Oldfield have been dismissed without notice.

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Retired detective inspector Tim Ireson, the unit’s commanding officer, and former Pc Craig Bannerman would have been sacked if they had not left the force while trainee detective constable Andrew Ferguson has been given a final written warning.

John Bassett, legally qualified chair, said: “Police officers, whether individually or as a unit, cannot pick and choose which of the standards they will abide by, in particular it is not open to members of a particular unit to disregard some of the standards in the belief that this makes them more of an effective or cohesive unit.

“In the panel’s opinion, the matters it has found proved are the antithesis of what the public expects and what is clearly set out in the standards of public behaviour.

“The conduct in question was shameful.”

He added that the sacked officers’ names would be placed on a public list of banned officers.

Jason Beer QC, presenting the case against the officers, said that following an anonymous complaint, covert recording devices were placed in the unit’s offices between March 9 and April 2 2018.

Beer told the hearing: “It was a unit that was plain nasty that displayed attitudes towards groups and communities that police officers are called upon to protect.”

Among the conversations recorded were comments that the only Black officer in the unit had arrived from Africa in a crate.

And “explicit and highly offensive” fake pornographic images of the royal family were also posted on a work WhatsApp group.

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  • Show Comments
    1. I think most police forces are like this & look down their noses at ‘the public’. UKanian
      coppers are mostly a law unto themselves. A person can get killed by a policeman with impunity. I was once surrounded in my driveway by 10 Dorset Armed Response coppers from 6 AR vehicles, all dripping with automatic pistols & machine guns, because someone told them I had a gun, which I did not have. I did have a Bushnell Speed ‘Gun’ for recording traffic speeds which looks like a hair dryer. I think what stopped them firing at me was the presence of a CCTV camera on my garage recording the event. They had responded to a malicious call about me which was just as frightening. The police are not our friends.

    2. I totally agree with Terry. To refer to them as ‘Pigs’, is an insult to those highly intelligent and marvellous creatures. Scumbags, the World over. Automatons, who, when told to (blindly obedient) pile into anyone-protestors, the public, sports event attendees; it doesn’t matter to them what the target is-and vent their authoritarian spleen, with moral impunity. I hope the vermin in this case get to pay with more than their jobs!

    3. Concur with the sentiments of the contributor’s here. I am old enough to remember our gallant protectors of the establishments disgusting behaviour in 1984/5. Less we forget across the UK 11,291 people were arrested, 8,392 charged and between 150 and 200 imprisoned. I was not aware that an early day motion was signed in Sep 2020 to, Call on the Government to follow the lead of the devolved administration in Scotland and set up an independent review into policing in the UK during the dispute, with a view to issuing pardons to all of those convicted.

    4. Can’t help wondering what the tribunal though worse – ‘racist, sexist, ableist and other inappropriate comments.,’ which is what I’d expect from police, or fake pornographic images of the royal family.

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