Archive for September 9th, 2008

September 9th, 2008

Punch & Judy

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

So, the public Punch & Judy match that is the spat between Met Commissioner Sir Ian Blair & Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur has resulted in Ghaffur being suspended from his duties, or put on ‘gardening leave’.

I can’t say I’m surprised since Ghaffur went public with his press conference bleating about being racially & religiously discriminated against. He alleges that he has been treated less favourably than white officers & also that he has not had his contract renewed because he is over 50.

Ghaffur comes as the latest in a line of officers who have tried, sometimes successfully to sue the Met for discrimination. I have no doubt that there have been examples of discrimination within the force. I can honestly say I have never seen or heard any racist behaviour. I have seen several cases of black or Asian officers who have been treated more favourably than white colleagues & I have seen two cases of Asian officers who were totally bloody useless & failed to make their probation who took the force to an industrial tribunal – sometimes known as playing the ‘race’ card, both lost. There was no evidence that they had been discriminated against.

I don’t know the Met Chief personally, but from what I do know, I don’t believe him to be a racist & I find it incredulous that he would behave in any way which could possibly be construed as racist.

The recent industrial tribunal brought by one of the Met’s other senior officers, Commander Shabir Hussain agreed. They found the Met had no case to answer when Shabir brought a similar case against the Met just last week. Shabir, who rose to one of the highest police ranks in the land, complained that he had been overlooked for promotion to a similar rank as Ghaffur 4 times while white colleagues were promoted. Rather than accept that other officers might be better than him, he decided he was being racially discriminated against & brought a case. The tribunal found that there was “no substance” to Shabir’s claim. He had demanded £750,000 compensation.

Ghaffur is seeking £1million compensation at his forthcoming tribunal. I hope the same things happens at his tribunal as Shabir’s. I’m guessing the legal advice the Met is getting is the same; it’s a bold move to suspend an officer who is making racial discrimination claims against you in such a public arena as the police. They have a lot to lose.

Ghaffur must be the victim of his own petulance. Rather than build his case & deal with it through the same channels as everyone else, he decided to take it public, he held a press conference & invited press & TV & publicly made his accusations against the Met chief – he is suing him personally. His publicists, legal team & the Black Police Association are also engaged on a course of publicity of Ghaffur’s plight, almost as if they are getting their retaliation in first. The damage this has done to the Met must be rather great & I think Blair had no choice but to put up or shut up.

Of course, whatever the outcome of the eventual tribunal, whenever that is, Ghaffur & Shabir are on a no lose basis. If they win the case they are quids in, literally many hundreds of thousands of quids. If they lose, they go back to the same job, take their £90,000 & £180,000 respectively & have no penalty for making false or malicious claims. It’s a win, win situation.

Ghaffur is the third highest ranking police officer in the country, has a salary of £180,000 more than any other chief constable, he is an ethnic minority officer who has risen to the highest echelons of the police. When he retires he’s entitled to a payout of over £550,000 & a pension of £80,000. It would take rather a lot of convincing for me to believe he has suffered discrimination.