COMMENT: Reassuring to know that lessons are being learned

It was shocking to discover that a group of Hampshire Constabulary police officers still displayed the sort of outdated and offensive attitudes that have absolutely no place in 21st century Britain.

Thursday, 25th February 2021, 12:00 am

A misconduct panel found those involved guilty and said they were involved in a 'toxic' culture.

Covert bugging of their department at Basingstoke police station had uncovered a ‘catalogue of sexist, racist, homophobic and ableist language’.

The force and its chief constable Olivia Pinkney deserve credit for taking the problem seriously, reacting quickly and dealing with those responsible.

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But the case begged the question: were there other officers in the county who may hold similarly unacceptable views when their job requires them to treat everybody equally?

So it is pleasing to see that Hampshire police and crime commissioner Michael Lane has approved spending £860,000 on discrimination training for up to 6,000 current and future staff and officers.

A ‘cultural audit’ is set to be carried out first before the in-house programme is rolled out and this will be supported and evaluated by university researchers.

Hampshire is leading the way as this is the first accredited equalities and inclusion training in the country for policing.

Every department already has an equality and inclusion plan that is regularly scrutinised and all new starters in the force are reminded of the standards they should demonstrate in their public and private lives.

Mrs Pinkney clearly wants the public to know that she and her senior team take this issue seriously.

That should be reassuring for all of us, to know that lessons are being learned and that the kind of unacceptable behaviour uncovered in the investigation will never be tolerated by those at the top.