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Police officers are disciplined over probe into hate crime

Eight police officers at a Co Down station were disciplined in 2010 following a complaint to the Police Ombudsman's Office regarding the way a series of homophobic attacks were investigated, it has emerged.

The officers, from Newtownards station, were alleged to have not properly investigated attacks at a couple's home in 2007 and 2008.

Vincent Creelan, whose home was attacked, said: "The officers were coming out, they were taking details and then nothing was happening."

The officers - between the ranks of constable and inspector - were disciplined in 2010 following the completion of a Police Ombudsman's inquiry.

Mr Creelan and his partner took a civil case, backed by the Equality Commission, claiming proper policing was denied to them on the grounds of their sexual orientation. It was settled out of court.

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 the police."