Five officers in an elite unit caught making racist, sexist and homophobic remarks have been sacked for their “shameful” conduct. A covert bug recorded members of Hampshire police’s serious organised crime unit wishing death on foreigners, and an investigation found that part of the office where a black officer worked was called “Africa corner”. Olivia Pinkney, Hampshire’s chief constable, accepted that the disastrous episode had “undermined the trust and confidence of our communities and damaged the reputations of their colleagues”. Six officers were last month found guilty of gross misconduct. A discipline tribunal on Friday ruled that three officers who were still serving should be dismissed without notice. They are DS Oliver Lage, DS Gregory Willcox and PC James Oldfield (Also turned up to work drunk). Two who have already left the force were told they would also have been sacked if they were still serving. They are the officer in charge of the unit, retired Detective Inspector Tim Ireson, and former PC Craig Bannerman.
US President Barack Obama has warned Russia there will be “costs” for any military intervention in Ukraine. He said he was deeply concerned by reports of Russian military movements inside the country. Ukraine’s acting president has accused Russia of deploying troops to Crimea and trying to provoke Kiev into “armed conflict”.
Russia’s UN ambassador said any troop movements in Crimea were within an existing arrangement with Ukraine. Speaking from the White House, President Obama commended Ukraine’s interim government for its “restraint”. “Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilising, which is not in the interests of Ukraine, Russia or Europe,” he said.
“It would represent a profound interference in matters that must be determined by the Ukrainian people. It would be a clear violation of Russia’s commitment to respect the independence and sovereignty and borders of Ukraine – and of international laws.” He added: “Just days after the world came to Russia for the Olympic games, it would invite the condemnation of nations around the world. And, indeed, the United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.” Mr Obama did not spell out what any US response might be. However, the BBC’s Beth McLeod in Washington says the US is considering exerting economic pressure by withholding the deeper trade ties that Moscow seeks. It is also considering boycotting a G8 summit hosted by Russia, she adds, although that is not until June. In a TV address on Friday, Ukraine’s interim President Oleksander Turchynov said Moscow wanted the new government to react to provocations so it could annex Crimea. He appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to “stop provocations and start negotiations”.
He said Russia was behaving as it did before sending troops into Georgia in 2008 over the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which have large ethnic Russian populations. “They are implementing the scenario like the one carried out in Abkhazia, when after provoking a conflict, they started an annexation of the territory,” Mr Turchynov said. Armed men in unidentified military uniforms have moved in on Crimea’s parliament, state television building and telecommunication centres. They have also been patrolling airports in the Crimean capital, Simferopol, and Sevastopol, where Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is based.