Page last updated at 12:30 GMT, Friday, 27 June 2008 13:30 UK

Minister faces police racism row

Assistant Commissioner, Tarique Ghaffur
Mr Ghaffur claims to have been sidelined in key decisions

The police minister will be questioned about claims by the country's most senior Asian police officer that he is the victim of racial discrimination.

The chairman of the Home Affairs select committee, Keith Vaz, told the BBC that the committee would raise the issue with Tony McNulty next week.

Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur is said to be considering taking legal action against the force.

Mr Vaz said London Mayor Boris Johnson should intervene in the row.

Mr Ghaffur's allegations reportedly include being silenced over concerns against powers to detain terrorist suspects for 42 days.

He also claims to have been sidelined by Commissioner Sir Ian Blair in key decisions over the 2012 Olympics, despite being in charge of planning security.

Metropolitan Police Commander Ali Dizaei told the BBC the two men had held at meeting on Friday morning, but were "still at odds".

Intervention

Mr Vaz told Radio 4's Today programme: "What has changed since the Stephen Lawrence issue is black and Asian officers are now willing to challenge for the highest jobs in the police service.

"What is disappointing is that a number of those officers who have served their country well feel that they are being discriminated against.

"That is why we need to get to the root of things and understand what is happening and put things right.

"It does need intervention - if not from a minister then from the mayor of London."

For a person of his personality and character to embark on this course of action - I think he is at the end of his tether
Ali Dizaei
Metropolitan Police Commander

The Metropolitan Police has said it is unaware of any tribunal application being made by Mr Ghaffur but would be disappointed at any such action.

Mr Dizaei said that some of the evidence of alleged discrimination Mr Ghaffur had gathered was "unequivocal".

"For a person of his personality and character to embark on this course of action - I think he is at the end of his tether," he said.

Mr Dizaei denied the row was simply over a missed opportunity for promotion.

"It was about his conduct, about the way he was dealt with around the Olympic issue, the way he has been dealt with generally," he said.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Black Police Association said the organisation was "quite shocked" at Mr Ghaffur's complaints and was giving him its full support.

Speaking on London's LBC radio station, Mayor Boris Johnson said: "My view is that this is a matter for Sir Ian and he has got an issue with his number three and I am sure he will be sorting it out speedily."

Asked if it was unfair for the commissioner to be accused of racism, he replied: "I am sure that is unfair yes, but I do not want to get into the details of the case."

Mr Ghaffur is continuing in his post despite the row. Mr Dizaei said there should be an urgent summit on the matter, involving Mr Ghaffur, a government minister and a representative of the Met Police.


SEE ALSO
Profile: Tarique Ghaffur
25 Jun 08 |  UK

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