THE inspector in charge of a unit which faces serious misconduct allegations was “mindful of the risk of humour becoming bullying,” but said that swearing was fabric of the police force, a tribunal heard.

Giving evidence in the case relating to the Serious and Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) North office at the Northern Police Investigation Centre, based in Basingstoke, Detective Inspector Tim Ireson, who has now retired, was today (Tuesday) questioned over his conduct and leadership.

The hearing, which is taking place at Hampshire Fire and Police Headquarters in Eastleigh, told about a number of remarks made by Mr Ireson which form part of the case against him.

On one occasion Mr Ireson made a joke regarding Detective Constable Sol Koranteng - who is not accused as part of the case, by saying “What the f**k are we doing?” And said “Thank God Sol isn’t here ha ha ha, he’d have it hooked up and quartered ha ha ha”.

The allegation is that Mr Ireson, who joined the force in 1993, was senior supervisor should not have been using the offensive word ‘f**k’ gratuitously, also his comment has racial overtones by using DC Koranteng, a black officer, who was not even present, as a person likely to have ‘hooked up and quartered’ any passing livestock.

Mr Ireson said that he believed his language was respectful, adding: “I said I used the F Word, that was not used to ever criticise someone’s belief or background”.

In another incident PC Jim Oldfield, who faces similar allegations, sent a spoof letter full of expletives to Mr Ireson written by a fictitious character complaining about the requirements placed on citizens by the UK government when renewing a passport.

Mr Ireson replied with “HA HA”, which the constabulary says breaches its professional standards as he not only failed to challenge the email which should not have been on the work system but encouraged it by responding.

However, giving evidence Mr Ireson said: “I foolishly and with huge regret I wrote this to James (PC Oldfield). I was trying to get through my own work when the rest of the team were going home.

“A better response would have been to ignore it, and even better response was to challenge it.”

Chair John Bassett asked Mr Ireson when he considered a remark moved from humour to bullying, to which he replied: “When there was malicious intent to undermine that person”.

He said: “I was definitely mindful of the risk of humour becoming bullying, I was very clear in my own mind that that was not acceptable.”

The allegations against Mr Ireson is that he failed to challenge or report any of his members of staff for their remarks and behaviour.

“It is awful in any way you look at it. It doesn’t reflect the attitudes of any of my team at that time. It doesn’t reflect my values and values I was pushing in the way I felt,” he said.

The hearing has been told that on April 1 2018 PC Oldfield attended work while unfit for duty due to excessive alcohol consumption the previous evening/that morning, and Mr Ireson failed to report him despite the officer saying he was “still pissed”.

PC Oldfield also protested about travelling to Southampton to help with a rape investigation, saying: “I just don’t really want to speak to anyone…I just don’t want anyone to realise that I’m still pissed (laughter)”

The tribunal has been told that during a number of incidents expletives were used such as “f***k” and “c**t”, but Mr Ireson argued that swearing is “in the fabric” of the force.

Mr Ireson told the hearing that when he used to meet other senior officers “depending on the conversation, [would have] quite easily contained the F Word and expletives,” adding: “It was a part of everyday”.

The trial continues.