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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 June, 2005, 07:34 GMT 08:34 UK
White police win race case claim
Beat officers
The complaint followed the Macpherson report
Three white officers who sued the Metropolitan Police for race and sex discrimination have won their case.

They faced disciplinary action after an Asian officer said they had made racist remarks at a training day in 1999.

Later cleared on appeal, they said they were victims of political correctness following the Macpherson report into the Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry.

Met Commissioner Sir Ian Blair had denied "hanging the men out to dry" to make an example of them.

Det Con Tom Hassell, 60, Det Sgt Colin Lockwood, 55, and Det Insp Paul Whatmore, 39, said the complaint would not have been treated the same way if it had come from a white officer.

Sir Ian Blair
Sir Ian denied hanging the men "out to dry"

Det Sgt Shabnam Chaudhri complained after Mr Hassell referred to Muslim headwear as "tea cosies" and mispronounced "Shi'ites" during a presentation on Islam in 1999.

Although Mr Hassell apologised, Det Sgt Chaudhri said he had been racist and Mr Lockwood and Mr Whatmore had failed to intervene.

A disciplinary hearing in 2001 found them partly guilty of misconduct but recommended no further action be taken.

Sir Ian told the tribunal he had found this extraordinary, and asked if the decision could be challenged.

The employment tribunal chairman said his intervention amounted to unfavourable treatment by prejudicing the case against the men.

This has gone on for six years and nearly destroyed our names, our careers and our family lives
Det Con Tom Hassell

Later they were cleared on appeal by Britain's most senior Asian police officer, who said it was incredible the case had ever been brought.

Mr Hassell, who had a police good conduct medal and an unblemished 26-year career, said the matter would not have got beyond an informal complaint, had it not been for Det Sgt Chaudhri's race, sex and religious background.

It came months after the publication of the Macpherson report into the Lawrence murder investigation which found the Met was "institutionally racist".

After winning the case, Mr Hassell told the Daily Mail: "We feel relieved and vindicated. This has gone on for six years and nearly destroyed our names, our careers and our family lives.

'Sad day'

"It's a sad day for the Met Police Service that officers have to go through this to clear their names."

Glen Smyth, chairman of the Met Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, said Met managers should not be "behaving like a pack of rottweilers after a rabbit" at any hint of discrimination.

In a statement, Scotland Yard said it was disappointed with the tribunal's ruling and felt it was right to defend the case, but would give "careful consideration" to the findings.

It added: "We have and will continue to challenge instances of what we believe to be inappropriate or discriminatory behaviour.

"The Met is policing probably the most diverse city in the world. We have a duty to help our staff understand diversity and to create a workforce that reflects London's make-up."

Earlier in June another white officer, Chief Inspector Julia Pendry, settled out-of-court after bringing a race and sex discrimination claim against the Met.


SEE ALSO:
Met settles race claim tribunal
16 Jun 05 |  London
Met officer 'witch hunt victim'
08 Jun 05 |  London


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