UPDATE: Police investigate ‘hate crime’ after vandals’ racist message sparks fury in Portsmouth

The racist graffiti close to the war memorial in Guildhall Square
The racist graffiti close to the war memorial in Guildhall Square

Officer’s disciplinary hearing may not be held publicly

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POLICE have launched an investigation after ‘vile’ vandals spray-painted a racist message near to the war memorial in Portsmouth’s Guildhall Square.

White capital letters reading ‘UKIP’ and ‘DIRTY POLISH’ were put on a wall.

This is disgusting and vile behaviour and I hope in all such cases the culprits are found.

Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP

The incident was revealed after a photo was posted on Facebook yesterday.

A Hampshire police spokeswoman said: ‘This crime will be recorded as a hate crime and we will investigate any possible lines of enquiry to try and find the person or people responsible.’

City leaders have since condemned the racist message and a Polish student said she has been left scared.

It comes after reports of dozens of racist incidents nationally since Britain voted to leave the European Union on Thursday.

MPs from across the area have since told of their outrage at the vandalism.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt described it as an ‘affront’ to the city’s values.

She said: ‘This is disgusting and vile behaviour and I hope in all such cases the culprits are found.

‘Our city has always been diverse and inclusive and such attacks on a community are an affront to the values of our city.

‘All of our residents, and our visitors, should feel welcome and valued. And at these times when some seek to cause division and stir up ill feelings we must all make a special effort to get that warm message across.’

Fareham MP Suella Fernandes has also told of her disgust at the incident.

She said: ‘I completely condemn any acts of racism.

‘Racial abuse or petty ignorant prejudice is totally unacceptable and not what Britain stands for.’

The images was first shared on Facebook by David Bell, who said: ‘It’s disrespectful as many Poles fought alongside us in the Second World War.

‘Whoever done it needs to be caught. In some ways it’s causing more tension which I think some want and point the finger.’

Hampshire police said the incident had not been reported.

The police spokeswoman added: ‘We work very closely with all our communities across the city and as a result of many years of engagement, our neighbourhood teams have built up strong links with our minority communities who know that we are there for them if they need us.

‘We will continue to be visible and accessible so that if someone feels that they have been a victim of a hate crime they know they can talk to us.

‘We would urge anyone who has been victim of a hate crime or has any information about who may be responsible for this incident, to contact us on 101.’