Racist, sexist and homophobic comments "the norm", tribunal told

A hearing was told today that six Hampshire Police officers should be dismissed from their jobs. Credit: ITV Meridian

A hearing has been told that extreme language, sexist, racist and homophobic comments had become the norm with the Hampshire Police Serious Organised Crime Unit based in Basingstoke.

The comments were frequent, regular and repeated, say prosecutors.

Between March and April 2018 secret recording equipment was set up, bugging the Basingstoke office, following a tip off. 

Secret recording equipment was set up in the Basingstoke office. Credit: ITV Meridian

Prosecutors said it captured offensive language and behaviour on a daily basis, also targeting people with disabilities and the one black officer on the team.  

Jason Beer QC today told the hearing:

Even though we have recordings for 24 days, we have enough racism and sexism to last a lifetime. It is strongly suggestive of the culture in this unit and that officers habitually behaved in this manner.

Jason Beer QC

Comments were also made over email and WhatsApp messages. Language it is said officers felt comfortable using because no one challenged or reported the behaviour.  

Those in charge, DI Tim Ireson and Det Sgt Gregory Wilcox, are accused of failing to lead by example and allowing toxic behaviour to become embedded in the unit.

The others accused are Detective Sgt Oliver Lage, former PC Craig Bannerman, PC James Oldfield and trainee DC Andrew Ferguson. 

All six admit misconduct, but deny gross misconduct.

Hampshire Police made closing submissions on Monday and barristers for the six men will also speak.

The tribunal panel is likely to give its decision on Friday and the men will discover in January if they face sanctions, which could include losing their jobs.