Page last updated at 22:19 GMT, Thursday, 28 August 2008 23:19 UK

Race row police told to 'shut up'

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Asian police chief's racism claim

A senior police chief has told those involved in a Metropolitan Police row over alleged racial discrimination to "shut up" and "get on with the job".

Asian officer Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur told reporters he had been discriminated against "over a long period" by Met chief Sir Ian Blair.

He is taking his claim of racial and religious discrimination to a tribunal.

But Deputy Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said it was inappropriate for the row to be conducted in public.

He added the Met would "robustly challenge" Mr Ghaffur's claims.

I think it's long past that time that we all shut up and get on with the job that we are all paid to do
Deputy Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson

Mr Ghaffur, one of the UK's top Asian officers, has also claimed that Met commissioner Sir Ian sidelined him in his role as head of security for the 2012 Olympic Games.

He said his employment tribunal claim would include claims of race and religious discrimination.

He told a news conference: "My current case is essentially to do with my treatment at the highest levels of the Met, in particular the discrimination I have been subject to over a long period of time by the present commissioner Sir Ian Blair.

"I'm not seeking massive monetary benefits and I do not have grievances against the whole of the Met, an organisation that I dearly love and admire."

He claimed to have been "victimised" since his grievances were made public.

'Very disappointed'

In a press conference Sir Paul said he recognised Mr Ghaffur's right to bring the claim but was unhappy about the issue being made public.

All sides were told to shut up

He said he was "very disappointed that attempts to reach a mediated settlement have failed".

He added: "I do not think it was appropriate for this matter to be conducted in such a public way.

"That is a matter for him (Mr Ghaffur) to reconcile with what he considers to be his proper responsibilities as one of this country's most senior police officers.

"The MPS will not at this time be commenting publicly in detail on the content of Assistant Commissioner Ghaffur's claims, other than to say that we do not accept the charges of discrimination against us and intend to robustly challenge them.

"In short, I think it is long past time that we all shut up, stop making public statements about private disputes and get on with the job we are paid to do."

Racism - both institutional and individual - still continues within the Met
Alfred John
Met Black Police Association

'Egotistical'

Alfred John, chairman of the Met's Black Police Association, sat alongside Mr Ghaffur during the press conference.

He made reference to the Macpherson inquiry, carried out after the murder of black student Stephen Lawrence in 1993, which branded the Met "institutionally racist".

Linking that to Mr Ghaffur's complaint, Mr John said: "It is not an isolated incident, and racism - both institutional and individual - still continues within the Met.

"And, in fact, it has not improved that much since the Macpherson report, despite all of the press that you might have heard."

The BBC's Daniel Sandford said Sir Ian had always had a good reputation when it came to minority officers, and appeared to have the backing of the vast majority of Scotland Yard's senior management on this issue.

He said those managers found it hard to understand how Mr Ghaffur could feel victimised when he earns more than 100,000 a year, is a CBE and will retire with a pension pot of some 500,000.

Our correspondent said one police officer had even accused Mr Ghaffur of "egotistical self-indulgence".




SEE ALSO
Profile: Tarique Ghaffur
25 Jun 08 |  UK

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