Aussie cops grilled for racist e-mail

ADELAIDE; Up to 100 Australian police are

being investigated for circulating racist and pornographic e-mails

via an internal system, a scandal blamed for one officer’s suicide, a

top official said today.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland said the officers had let down the community by forwarding the offensive e-mails.

“It’s a mix of racist and pornographic and otherwise offensive material,” Overland told reporters. “There are varying degrees of involvement and varying degrees of seriousness.” Overland refused to elaborate on the content of the e-mails, saying none of it was illegal but all of it was offensive and in breach of department policy.

He also would not confirm whether the racist material concerned Indians or Africans, two minority groups that have been the target of violence in Victoria state and have criticised police conduct in recent months.

The months-long investigation led to two officers receiving what is called a Section 68 - notice that the commissioner has lost confidence in the officers and giving them a chance to explain why they should not be dismissed - for introducing the material into the police system.

The other officers were being questioned for further circulating the e-mails, sometimes adding inappropriate comments of their own.

Overland confirmed that a

police officer who committed suicide earlier this week was one of two given the Section 68.

Tony Vangorp, 47, tendered his resignation on Friday and returned to the police station Monday night and shot himself. Overland said Vangorp had not been responsible for any racist e-mails.

The report came as the state’s Indian population was also claiming a number of racially motivated attacks by Australians.