A Lincolnshire police officer accused of giving a Nazi salute to a work colleague and commenting that it was like working with the Gestapo has been sacked.
PC Mick Colbourne, 56, who had served with the force since 2002, was found to be in breach of the standards of professional behaviour following a three day misconduct hearing.
A misconduct hearing was told that PC Colbourne, who worked in the force traffic investigations unit alongside staff employed by G4S, also made derogatory remarks about transgender children and suggested their parents were lunatics who should be shot.
At the time of the incidents he was on a final written warning for making a homophobic comment and he was also the subject of a work improvement notice for being “disruptive, ill-mannered and belligerent”.
He was dismissed without notice. He has a right of appeal to a Police Appeals Tribunal. The force also said that “his name will be added to the list of those barred from working within policing”.
The decision to sack him came just months after a Crown Court judge praised PC Colbourne for his “dogged work” in bringing to justice a man who lied in a bid to dodge a driving ban.
Liz Briggs, for Lincolnshire Police, told the misconduct hearing at the force headquarters that in December last year PC Colbourne was asked to leave the traffic processing office by the civilian manager Beverley Hewitt because he was disrupting the work of staff.
“She asked the officer to leave. The officer was heard to say ‘it’s like working for the Gestapo.’ The officer accepts making that comment.”
Ms Briggs said that as PC Colbourne left the room at Lincoln Police Station he was seen to make a Nazi salute behind the back of Ms Hewitt.
“It was akin to a Nazi salute raising his right arm straight up in the air before exiting the office.”
Ms Briggs said that a month later PC Colbourne walked into the same office and made derogatory comments about transgender and gender fluid people.
PC Colbourne, who served in the Army before becoming a police officer, admitted he made the Gestapo comment but denied making a Nazi salute
“As I walked out of the office I said it’s like working with the Gestapo.
“That was said because of the secret gathering of information on me that had been passed by the G4S staff to their supervisors. G4S staff were gathering information on me behind my back.”
“I have never given a Nazi salute in the 17 years I have been in Lincolnshire Police. It was a wave goodbye. They may have misinterpreted the way I waved goodbye to people.”
The officer added: “I’m not bigoted. I didn’t say transgender, transvestites or gender fluid people are lunatics. The only people I call lunatics are the parents.”
Laura Nash, counsel for PC Colbourne, said he had mental health issues as well as issues both at home and work and she urged that he should not be sacked.
“He hasn’t set out to upset anyone. He is clearly someone who needs guidance and needs help because he does lack insight,” she said.
The officer was ruled to have breached the standards of professional behaviour on three grounds – discreditable conduct, equality and diversity, and authority, respect and courtesy.
The breaches involved inappropriate comments and gestures made in the workplace between December 17, 2018 and January 17, 2019.
Detective Superintendent Suzanne Davies, Head of Professional Standards, said: “Police Officers hold extraordinary trust and powers — we must be beyond reproach. The standards of professional behaviour expected of police officers is clearly set out in legislation and the code of ethics.”
She added: “I expect all Lincolnshire police officers to treat members of the public and colleagues with respect and courtesy and to behave in a manner which does not bring discredit to the police service or undermine public confidence.
“I pass on my thanks to the legally qualified chair and other members of the panel for their time spent on this case.”