Firearms officer wins £457,000 compensation from Cleveland Police for racial abuse

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An Employment Tribunal has awarded £457,000 compensation for race discrimination to an Asian firearms officer who guarded Tony Blair and members of the royal family. The 45 year old officer had been subject to years of racial abuse by fellow officers including racist remarks made about him by senior officers to colleagues.  The Tribunal found that the level of the abuse he had suffered meant that he was unable to return to work as a police officer again.  This led to the high level of compensation which reflects his future loss of earnings.

Racist comments about the officer were overheard during a work night out at a pub. Other evidence heard by the Tribunal included that one colleague had an English Defence League sticker on his gun holster, which made derogatory reference to Muslims and a crusade, and that this was never investigated by the force. In a statement, Cleveland police said it has apologised and reviewed many of its policies as a result of this case including giving training sessions on equality, diversity and human rights and cultural awareness to the wider organisation.

This case serves as a stark reminder that discrimination cases can be extremely costly both financially and in terms of an organisation’s reputation. Discriminatory comments or behaviour either at work or at work related events should always be challenged at the time and dealt with under the organisation’s equality and diversity policy.