GROSS misconduct hearings for eight Basingstoke police officers who are alleged to have made ‘racist and homophobic’ remarks have been delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As previously reported in the Gazette last October, the eight officers face gross misconduct hearings over alleged inappropriate and prejudiced behaviour, following a 17-month investigation into claims by a force employee.

The employee claims that officers within its serious and organised crime unit used “inappropriate and prejudiced” language and behaviour.

Sky News reported that covert recording devices at the Police Investigation Centre in Basingstoke allegedly caught officers making racist and homophobic remarks.

Hampshire Constabulary previously said that one police officer who would have been reprimanded for their behaviour resigned over the issue.

Now, Hampshire Constabulary has told the Gazette that the hearings, which will be chaired by an independent legally qualified chair, have been delayed because of the pandemic.

The force was working towards a date in April, which was subject to legal discussions, but it is now expected to take place later this year.

Hampshire Constabulary said it will publish the date of the public hearing on its website once it has been set.

The news of the delay comes as people in Basingstoke have joined others in countries across the world to make a stand against systemic racism towards black people by holding protests following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died on May 25 in Minneapolis after a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes while he was handcuffed.