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25 February 2019, 15:21 | Updated: 25 February 2019, 15:26
Hampshire Police are investigating 16 officers over claims they used "inappropriate and prejudiced" language and behaviour, the force has said.Three other members of police staff are also under investigation following a complaint by a force employee. It comes after the Sun reported that covert recording devices at Hampshire Police Investigation Centre in Basingstoke allegedly caught officers making racist and homophobic comments. Five Hampshire Police employees have been suspended, while 11 have been placed on restricted duties, the force confirmed. In a statement, Hampshire Police said the force's professional standards department was conducting the investigation. It's looking into "the circumstances surrounding the alleged use of inappropriate and prejudiced language and behaviours by 16 police officers and three members of police staff following an internal report by a force employee. "This investigation began in February last year (2018) and the allegations involve a specialist team within the force. "Five people have been suspended. Of the 14 officers and staff who are not suspended, 11 people have been placed on directed duties while the exact circumstances are established. "Hampshire Constabulary takes any allegations of this nature very seriously and has been taking independent advice from the outset. We are in the process of conducting a rigorous investigation which is being supervised by the Independent Office for Police Conduct." An IOPC spokeswoman confirmed the watchdog was supervising the investigation into "allegations of inappropriate language and attitudes by 16 police officers and three members of police staff". "It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage in the investigation," she added.