A POLICE unit joked about one of its colleagues gaining his qualifications through Nigerian fraudsters, a misconduct hearing has been told.

Detective Sergeant Oliver Lage, 47, of Hampshire Constabulary, who had left the unit in December 2017 but had returned on the weekend of March 10 and 11 2018 to cover holiday, is alleged to have made inappropriate remarks.

The unit had been discussing signing up for the National Investigators' Examination when the conversation was directed to Detective Constable Sol Koranteng, who is originally from Ghana.

Convert recordings heard officers joking that DC Koranteng had his qualification “written on a piece of paper”, DS Lage adding: “He has he got his from Nigeria”.

Hampshire police say that the remark was offensive and racist, but DS Lage giving evidence today (Friday) said: “I mentioned Nigeria because Nigerian Fraud had been a common term within law enforcement.

“That conversation dismisses the respect that not only I had but others had for his diligence and hard work.”

Six officers from the Serious and Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) North based at the Northern Police Investigation Centre, in Basingstoke, are subject to the three-week proceedings.

The officers facing charges are Retired Detective Inspector Tim Ireson, Detective Sergeant Oliver Lage, Detective Sergeant Gregory Willcox, former PC Craig Bannerman, trainee Detective Constable Andrew Ferguson and PC James Oldfield.

The serious misconduct proceedings arose following a complaint about the team’s behaviour and covert recording was carried out between March 9 and April 2 2018. A search of text and Whatsapp messages and emails was also carried out.

In another incident DS Lage, who was in a supervisory role, was present in the office when a tannoy announcement was made which was reacted to officers shouting “c**t”, “s**t” and “w***e”.

DS Lage said that he could not understand why he did not challenge the “folly of dialogue”, adding: “It is that I didn’t even register that those words have been said at that time and doesn’t equate in my own mind.”

The constabulary say that the DS Lage should have challenged the officers who made the offensive comments.

The hearing, which is taking place at Hampshire Constabulary’s headquarters in Eastleigh, continues.