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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 June, 2005, 15:20 GMT 16:20 UK
Top officer attacks race tribunal
Sir Ian Blair
Sir Ian Blair vowed to write to the tribunal service
Met Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair has criticised an employment tribunal in which three white officers won a claim of race and sex discrimination.

He said he was disappointed he had been accused of leaving the men "hanging out to dry" over the allegations in 1999.

Det Con Tom Hassell, Det Insp Paul Whatmore and Det Sgt Colin Lockwood were awarded a total of 90,000.

Sir Ian said the Met was considering appealing and that racist behaviour would not be tolerated.

The tribunal concluded he had influenced proceedings against the officers and treated them unfavourably following the 1999 Macpherson inquiry into the Stephen Lawrence murder that accused the force of being "institutionally racist".

'Grave matter'

The officers won their case at an employment tribunal in east London on Monday.

A complaint was made after Mr Hassell mispronounced "Shi'ites", referred to Muslim headwear as "tea cosies" and said he felt sorry for anyone fasting during Ramadan, at the presentation in 1999.

Det Sgt Shabnam Chaudhri, who made the complaint, also criticised the other two officers for not taking appropriate action.

Two of the officers were suspended for several weeks and one was signed off for three weeks suffering from depression.

Not for turning

When they appealed against the hearing's result, Britain's most senior Asian officer, Asst Commissioner Tariq Ghaffur, cleared the men saying it was incredible that the case had been brought.

Addressing the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) on Thursday, Sir Ian said he said he was "concerned" the panel had criticised Det Sgt Chaudhri and appeared to question the veracity of her account - even though she had not given evidence in person.

Sir Ian said he intended to write to the president of the tribunal service to take up this "grave matter".

He also said the "gratuitous, anti-Semitic and Islamaphobic" remarks, which prompted her complaint, had never been denied.

There was no place for those sentiments in the Met, he said.

Sir Ian said the Met was not for turning from its mission to educate its officers about diversity and said it was a necessity for effective policing in the capital.

He added: "Officers who are proved to have said it must expect discipline to follow, and supervisors who fail to challenge it must expect discipline to follow."




SEE ALSO:
Race case police awarded 90,000
29 Jun 05 |  London
Met settles race claim tribunal
16 Jun 05 |  London
Met officer 'witch hunt victim'
08 Jun 05 |  London


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