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Australian police officers face sack over racist emails


Melbourne : A veteran police officer who killed himself this week is among many officers identified during a crackdown over racist and pornographic emails, an Australian police officer said Thursday.

Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police Simon Overland stated that the racist, homophobic and pornographic emails shared by the officers were too shocking ever to be released, the Herald Sun reported.

Senior police officers are among about 100 officers who could be reprimanded or sacked.

Overland confirmed that an officer of 30 years who killed himself this week at Healesville police station was among officers identified during a crackdown on computer usage.

Sergeant Tony Vangorp, who could have been sacked over a “seriously inappropriate email”, resigned before committing suicide.

Another officer also faces the sack over an “extremely racist email”. The most serious email was believed to show an ethnic man being tortured.

Overland refused to confirm if the emails contained racist comments against Indian students or Africans, two minority groups who have repeatedly criticised police conduct in recent months.

There had been a string of assaults on Indian students in Australia, with one proving fatal.

Overland had caused a controversy in February when he suggested that Indian students living in Australia should “look as poor as you can” to avoid being assaulted.

Other senior police officers could be reprimanded or sacked over claims they distributed offensive material by email.

Victoria Premier John Brumby has told Overland to act “decisively and fairly” to stamp out police racism. “Racism in whatever form is completely unacceptable”, the media report quoted him as saying.

Overland told ABC Radio: “I’m not going to describe exactly the nature of the material in question. If the Victorian public were aware of the nature of that material, I believe that it’s of such a nature that it would cause significant concern within the Victorian community.”