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Last Updated: Friday, 22 September 2006, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Force admits rejecting white men
Two thirds of applications from white men were turned down
Gloucestershire police force has admitted illegally rejecting 108 job applicants because they were white men.

The Police Federation said the force has been trying to recruit more female officers and more people from ethnic minorities to meet a government target.

But one of the unsuccessful applicants, Matt Powell took legal action and has been awarded 2,500 by a tribunal.

Mr Powell, 30, said he became suspicious when he was told he had been "randomly deselected".

The case comes six months after Avon and Somerset Police admitted it had illegally rejected almost 200 applications from white men for the same reason.

'Unlawful racial discrimination'

The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) and the Equal Opportunities Commission who led the investigation, said the Gloucestershire force had unlawfully discriminated on the grounds of race and sex.

A spokesman said: "Unlawful racial discrimination is unacceptable and as the guardian of the Race Relations Act we will hold organisations to account if we think that they are in breach of the Act."

To call it a clumsy policy would be diplomatic. It clearly wasn't the way to do it.
Ian Anderson, chairman of the Gloucestershire Police Federation

Police are under pressure to meet the government target, set in 1999, that by 2009, 7% of police officers in England and Wales should be from ethnic minority groups.

In September 2005, only 1.6% of Gloucestershire Police officers were black or Asian.

Ian Anderson, chairman of Gloucestershire Police Federation blamed unrealistic government targets for their illegal recruitment drive.

"I think to call it a clumsy policy would be diplomatic.

"It clearly wasn't the way to do it and has caused a great deal of consternation and disquiet in the force and the local community."

'Positive action'

Earlier this year, Gloucestershire's Assistant Chief Constable Michael Matthews admitted 'positive action' had been taken to recruit more women and from ethnic minorities.

"It is essential in a democratic policing environment to ensure that under-represented groups are prioritised in our recruitment drives," he said.

Mr Powell's solicitor, Nigel Tillott, said: "The impact of this is that it is now clear how far public authorities can go in positive action.

"What they cannot do is discriminate against white males when it comes to job applications."

Rejected applicant explains what happened to him

Pay out to would-be policeman
14 Mar 06 |  Bristol/Somerset

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