• Thursday, May 26, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

Police force apologises for racial abuse of former investigator

Avon and Somerset Police said the issues of racial abuse were looked into and people dealt with. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

AVON AND SOMERSET POLICE has apologised to a former investigator of south Asian heritage for racial abuse and discrimination he faced when he was in the force.

The officer, who wishes to remain anonymous, complained that his colleagues made fun of his accent but they were later promoted.

He said he faced “vendetta” and the situation forced him to cut his curly hair in a bid to stop the abuse.

The force condemned the “unacceptable” abuse but the officer claimed he was intimidated into “withdrawing” his complaint about the ill-treatment he faced in the unit in southwestern England.


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Avon and Somerset Police deputy chief constable Nikki Watson said the issues were “looked into and people were dealt with”.

But that sort of behaviour would not be acceptable in any way shape or form nowadays and potentially would be dealt with very differently.”

In an interview with the BBC, the British south Asian officer, who was made redundant when his unit was disbanded, revealed how he endured abuse which “worsened in 2012.

In 2016, the force offered him a compensation of £9,000 which he refused to accept and preferred to approach a tribunal. But he ultimately withdrew his case as the force threatened him with a legal fee of £30,000 if he lost it, he said.

According to him, while general “vendetta against black people” and misogyny was prevalent in the force, he was singled out for ill-treatment.

He said a constable in his team placed his mobile and home telephone numbers in a strip club and this resulted in the family receiving embarrassing phone calls. He was forced to change his phone number for the fear of his family being asked for sex.

As I was highlighting the unethical and discriminatory behaviour of the police officers towards Asian and black people, they ganged up against me and wrote my telephone numbers in the telephone boxes and strip clubs,” he told the news organisation.

We were constantly receiving vulgar telephone calls both at home and on my mobile. The consistent anonymous calls from perverts increased and began to affect my family and young children… I was left with no choice but to change my phone number which I had for the last 15 years.”

He said, “it still saddens me to think that there was very compelling evidence against these racist officers but they protected them by saying that my incidents were all out of time… They went into overdrive to protect them rather than disciplining them.”

It was not a fair process. I was the one who lost my job which they based it under the umbrella of redundancy.”

In a statement put out on its website on Wednesday (16), Avon and Somerset Police expressed “shock” over the “allegations of bullying, harassment and racial discrimination by a former employee”.

It said, “the behaviour that’s been described as happening 10-12 years ago does not align with our values and we do not tolerate it.”

We’d like to reassure people we are committed to understanding what took place and how it was dealt with at the time,” it said.

Should we identify any missed opportunities, or ways in which we can improve, after reviewing our records relating to this media report then we will absolutely take steps to do so”.

Eastern Eye

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