Australia Sacks Four Police Officers for Racist Emails

Melbourne/New Delhi, Oct 29 (IANS) Four police officers in Australia have been dismissed while seven officers have been fined for circulating racist emails, including one that contained footage of a man being electrocuted while travelling on a train in India. Australia's envoy to India has welcomed the action.

The four Victoria Police officers were dismissed following disciplinary hearings over the circulation of inappropriate and offensive emails on force computers.

Two sergeants, one leading senior constable and one senior constable were sacked Friday, the Age reported.

One of the emails contained video footage that showed the death of the man who was travelling on the roof of a crowded train in India. When the train stopped at a station the man stood up and touched an overhead power cable. Onlookers screamed as he was electrocuted.

The email containing the shocking video began circulating in the Victoria Police computer system and racist comments were added, suggesting "this might be a way to fix the Indian student problem".

The emails, the police say, contained "highly offensive material" of a sexual, violent, homophobic and racist nature.

Seven more officers, all ranging between the ranks of senior constable and senior sergeant, have been fined between $500 and $3,000 and placed on 12-month good behaviour bonds.

In New Delhi, Australian High Commissioner Peter Varghese welcomed the strong action taken by the Victoria Police in dismissing the four officers.

Varghese said the dismissal reflected the seriousness with which the Victoria Police had taken the matter and reinforced the view that sending the email was unacceptable.

The sackings took place as part of Operation Barrot that was established in June to investigate a string of emails that had been circulated before Dec 18 last year.

Assistant Commissioner Emmett Dunne, of the Ethical Standards Department, said: "It is always regrettable when we have to dismiss officers. These are decisions that are never taken lightly."

"However, the community has high expectations of its officers and we have a duty to ensure that our members act with the utmost professionalism and integrity.

"Given the circumstances, the action we have taken was both appropriate and entirely justified."


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