As a force struggling to shake off a racist image, the Western Australia police hardly needed a speed camera catching two officers racing through a town centre wearing Ku Klux Klan-style hoods.
The incident in August 2001 was condemned by officers, before it was discovered that the culprits driving at more than twice the speed limit were colleagues in an unmarked police car.
Yesterday the state police commissioner, Barry Matthews, sacked the two perpetrators of the 75mph “prank” in the rural town of Bunbury, south of Perth.
“I accept it was done as a prank, and I accept there was no racist intention. There was no suggestion they were trying to masquerade as Ku Klux Klan,” he told the Perth radio station 6PR.
“They were just disguising themselves and they thought they were being smart, but I think afterwards they realised it was incredibly stupid and foolish.”
The two officers were on duty at the time of the stunt, which one of them confessed to his superiors late last year.
“I am not a corrupt cop, I just stuffed up on the night,” the officer, named only as Frank, said yesterday.
Apr. 20, 2004
David Fickling in Sydney