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1:03pm UK, Friday April 06, 2012
Four police officers in Northern Ireland have been suspended after the discovery of racist and sectarian text messages.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland‘s professional standards department has launched an internal probe after the allegedly offensive messages were discovered during the course of a separate internal inquiry.
The PSNI said in a statement: “The Police Service is proud of its reputation for delivering a personal, professional and protective policing service to the people of Northern Ireland and we expect our staff to behave ethically and with the utmost integrity at all times both on and off duty.
“Any officer who fails to abide by the high standards of behaviour expected of all officers as laid out in our code of ethics can expect to be rigorously investigated.”
It comes after separate allegations prompted suspensions for eight officers from the Metropolitan Police.
A total of 10 new complaints have been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission and which have seen 10 London officers investigated.
It’s a disgrace. These incidents happen more than we may want to believe they do and I think we’re starting to see that now.
Nathan John, Youth Enlightenment Programme
They came just days after the force vowed to get to the bottom of “very damaging” footage of one officer apparently racially abusing a man and another allegedly assaulting a teenage boy last summer.
Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey said “the Met does not tolerate racism” and warned there would be further referrals.
And Nathan John, from charitable organisation the Youth Enlightenment programme, told Sky News the claims should be investigated swiftly.
“It’s a disgrace,” he said.
“These incidents happen more than we may want to believe they do and I think we’re starting to see that now.
“I can imagine that there are many more that will come through, and some (which) won’t, out of fear of the media spotlight, or the police not believing them, or whatever.
“It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s something that we have to accept, that there are still issues within the Met.
“We really need to reinforce the message to officers that racism, or any form of abuse, isn’t on.”
Deputy Commissioner Mackey announced he had commissioned a review of complaints relating to alleged racism “to check the progress of ongoing cases”.
“Whilst any use of racist language is abhorrent, what is reassuring for me is that in the 10 cases that have been referred to the IPCC, six involve other officers who have stood up and raised concerns, showing that we are an organisation that will not stand for any racist behaviour,” he said.