MEMBERS of police unit who have been branded as demonstrating “shameful” behaviour have been dismissed from the service after they were covertly recorded making ‘offensive and disrespectful’ remarks.

Six officers at Hampshire Constabulary’s Serious Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) based at the Northern Police Investigation Centre, in Basingstoke, were found guilty of gross misconduct after they were recorded using ‘racist, sexist and homophobic’ language.

Today, following a lengthy misconduct hearing, five of the six officers were dismissed from the force without notice for breaching the Standards of Professional Behaviour.

Panel chair John Bassett said that the officers except PC Andrew Ferguson have also been barred from working as a police officer again.

Detective Sergeant Oliver Lage, Detective Sergeant Gregory Willcox and PC James Oldfield have been discharged from the constabulary with immediate effect.

The other two officers, Retired Detective Inspector Tim Ireson and former PC Craig Bannerman would have been dismissed if they had not already left the service.

Basingstoke Gazette:

Detective Inspector Timothy Ireson (Credit: Solent News and Photo Agency)

Mr Bassett said: “The phrase standards of professional behaviour needs no explanation, the standards set out how the public expects members of the police service to conduct themselves professionally both on and off duty.

“Police officers whether individually or as a unit cannot pick and choose which of the standards they would abide by. In particular it is not open to members of a particular unit to disregard some of the standards in the belief this makes them a more effective and or cohesive unit.

“In the panel’s opinion the matters it’s found and proved are the antithesis of what the public expects and what is clearly set out in the standards of professional behaviour. The conduct in question was shameful.”

PC Ferguson was given a final written warning and Mr Bassett said: “Of those appearing before the panel he was the last to join SOCU North and did so approximately three months before the probes were put in place.

“By the time he joined the unit the culture was well established when he was exposed to that culture soon after joining, the panel accepts he was conflicted at what he witnessed.

“It was entirely understandable in the circumstances of this case that he felt unable to raise matters with his supervisors. He sought the advice of others, including his father, a former long-serving officer, on the evidence the panel has heard the advice he received from his father was poor to put it mildly.”

Mr Bassett said that PC Ferguson showed “genuine remorse” and the panel considers he is “essentially a good officer and other members of Hampshire Constabulary can learn and benefit from him sharing his experience with them as he has stated he wants to do”.

He added: “The panel considers the likelihood of PC Ferguson repeating his misconduct are remote, however he should be under no illusion that were he to breach the standards of professional behaviour in anyway in the next 18 months the strong likelihood is that he will be dismissed not least because he would have failed to take the opportunity presented to him.”

The officers were found to have either made “abhorrent” remarks, or not have challenged other when comments were made.

Their behaviour came to light after covert recording devices were placed in the office between March 9 and April 2 2018, which caught them joking about migrants drowning, calling women “s***s* and “sugar tits, remarking “horrible tranny f******s, and making numerous racist remarks about a black officer.

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

Mr Ireson and DS Willcox were also accused at the tribunal of failing to fulfil their supervisory roles to stop or report the inappropriate behaviour.

PC Oldfield, who was also found to have to have turned up to work while drunk, while Ds Willcox was also falsely recorded hours and overtime on 23 March 2018.