‘A matter of the gravest concern’: Former York police officer suffered racial discrimination

Fulford Road police station in York. Photograph © Google Street View

A police officer who worked in York was discriminated against on the grounds of his race, a tribunal has found.

The employment tribunal upheld Zaheer Ahmed’s allegations of racial discrimination against North Yorkshire Police.

Mr Ahmed worked for the force in York, Selby and Malton over 23 years and rose to the rank of sergeant.

He is now retired.

The tribunal, led by employment Judge Shepherd, concluded that Mr Ahmed was subjected to unconscious race discrimination, plus two instances of direct discrimination, due to his Pakistani ethnic origin.

The tribunal decided that a white police sergeant who had passed his or her inspectors’ exams would have faced fewer obstacles to progression to the role of inspector than Mr Ahmed experienced.

‘We’ll reflect on the judgement’

Assistant Chief Constable Amanda Oliver. Photograph: North Yorkshire Police

Assistant Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police Amanda Oliver said the force would will now reflect on the employment tribunal’s full judgment very carefully and consider what further action needs to be taken.

Racial discrimination has no place in the police service, or in society, and consequently any finding of discrimination is a matter of the gravest concern.

Policing has come a long way in addressing overt discrimination, but that is not enough.

We also have to help all of our officers, staff and volunteers to understand the issue of unconscious bias.

We want to provide a working environment where people from all parts of the community can thrive, and we can only do that if we have an organisational culture built on fairness for everyone. We are actively working on that.

Asst Ch Con Oliver

She said the employment tribunal recognised the force’s Positive Action Programme aiming to improve the diversity of its workforce, which focuses on the recruitment, retention and progression of people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

North Yorkshire Police employs 44 police officers and police staff from black or minority ethnic backgrounds.

Asst Ch Con Oliver said the force was “absolutely committed to making sure that every single one of those people has every possible chance to thrive in our organisation”.