Newtownards PSNI Officers Disciplined

Eight police officers at a County Down station have been disciplined following a complaint to the Police Ombudsman’s Office.

It concerned the way in which a string of homophobic crimes were investigated.

The officers were alleged to have not properly investigated attacks at a gay couple’s Newtownards home in 2007/08.

The police have agreed to pay damages and costs, have apologised to the couple and committed to ongoing training for its officers.

Windows were broken at the home of Vincent Creelan and his partner, their car was attacked and eggs thrown at the house during a dozen incidents.

The officers from Newtownards station were disciplined in 2010 following the completion of the Police Ombudsman’s inquiry.

The two men also took a separate civil action against the PSNI claiming they had been denied proper policing because of their sexual orientation.

It had been due to run for five days, but was settled on the steps of Laganside Courts in Belfast on Monday morning.

The PSNI said it had accepted the findings of the Police Ombudman’s Office report into the issue in 2010 and has since acted on its recommendations.

It pointed out that there were “no findings of institutionalised homophobia in the concluding report”.

PSNI Chief Superintendent Mark Hamilton said; “We deeply regret that our service fell short of the standard our communities rightly expect and deserve and lessons have been learned from this case.

“The PSNI takes reports of hate crime very seriously, we are continuously working to improve our response to these crimes and would urge victims to report incidents to us.”

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