A police force with no black officers actively blocked an Asian constable’s promotion ambitions while ‘incompetent white officers’ prospered, an employment tribunal has heard.
Zaheer Ahmed, who spent 23 years working for North Yorkshire Police, claimed white officers were promoted to some more senior positions and the only explanation for him missing out was his race.
The tribunal at Teesside Magistrates’ Court has heard that Mr Ahmed, who is of Pakistani origin, had missed out on promotions to white colleagues and obstacles had been put in the way of his career progression.
In January 2014, Mr Ahmed applied for a custody sergeant role, but was told he was not suitable as he did not have enough experience.
He then claims other ‘less experienced, less qualified, white’ colleagues were assisted in applying for the role.
Zaheer Ahmed claimed ‘incompetent’ white officers were being promoted over him at North Yorkshire Police, he told an employment tribunal at Teesside Magistrates’ Court
In his witness statement, Mr Ahmed said: ‘North Yorkshire Police are concerned with appearing as though they care about tackling the issue of lack of diversity, but their actions do not support this.
‘As of March 31, North Yorkshire Police did not have a single black officer on its force.’
Mr Ahmed said a further application for a promotion was rejected in 2016, due to concerns with his performance, which he said was ‘a shock and a blow’.
‘I was getting good feedback from my superiors, was achieving competent and even exceeding expectations in some areas – I could not understand why it was only during the promotion process that I was being flagged as having development needs.
‘I did not receive a full explanation for the reason I was the only officer in North Yorkshire to be blocked.’
Mr Ahmed said this was the final straw for him and he realised he could no longer work for the force.
‘I was hurt by the discriminatory treatment that I had received over the years, the extra restrictions. the lack of opportunity and support – I would be obstructed from progressing any further.’
Mr Ahmed told the hearing: ‘North Yorkshire Police are concerned with appearing as though they care about tackling the issue of lack of diversity, but their actions do not support this. Pictured: File photo of police in North Yorkshire
He continued: ‘I served as a police officer for 23 years, I gave my life to the job and was eager to succeed in my career.
‘I did a great deal of overtime, worked on my rest days and routinely requested to be kept in mind for any experience.
‘My loyalty and dedication has been rewarded with resistance and humiliation.’
Mr Ahmed also claims that racist comments from prisoners were not pursued thoroughly.
‘I had an immense sense of pride of being a police officer and that I was part of this organisation.
‘To have experienced and witnessed the discrimination within the organisation, I can no longer be proud. I am disappointed and I am hurt.’
The tribunal also heard that an officer who had previously been sacked from the force for racially abusing a doorman was reinstated, rose to the rank of Chief Inspector and was allowed to preside over one of Mr Ahmed’s promotion applications.
He was awarded the second lowest mark possible in the evaluation.
Mr Ahmed told the tribunal in Middlesbrough (pictured) that one of his most disturbing moments as an officer came at Selby Police Station in in April 2014
Mr Ahmed told the tribunal in Middlesbrough that one of his most disturbing moments as an officer came at Selby Police Station in in April 2014.
He said a prisoner was drunk and swearing before he walked to the front of the custody desk.
Mr Ahmed said: ‘Whilst stood in front of me and looking at me he called me a n****r.
‘An investigation was held by DS Stephen into this racial hate incident I received while at work.’
In July 2014 he was told by Roland Burnett, one of those chosen to investigate, that it was not being pursued because a white colleague, Liz Hartley, felt the prisoner was ‘not being serious.’
Mr Ahmed said: ‘She thought the prisoner was not being serious when he called me a n****r so it didn’t go any further.
‘It is distressing to me that you can be called a n****r in an aggressive and intimidating manner, humiliatingly in front of all your colleagues and then told that it wasn’t being pursued.’
He later discovered the incident had been ‘NFA’d’ (no further action) in May 2014 but he had not been told.
Mr Ahmed spent 23 years working for North Yorkshire Police. He had applied for a custody sergeant role twice and was blocked each time
Mr Ahmed told the hearing that he was assessed for a temporary inspector post by a Chief Inspector who had previously been involved in a racially aggravated incident in York.
He said: ‘My application for the temporary inspector posts in York was assessed by Chief Inspector Bloxham and Chief Inspector Wilkinson. My application was unsuccessful. I received a score of 3/14. The lowest score that could be received was a ‘2.’
‘Chief Inspector Wilkinson was dismissed from the force due to allegedly racially abusing a doorman in York in June 1998. It was stated that he had brought discredit on the reputation of the force or of the police service.
‘He appealed the finding to the Secretary of State.’
He said a document put before the tribunal states the punishment was upheld by the Secretary of State but that he was reinstated on October 3rd 2000 and went on to become a Chief Inspector.
Two white officers were given the temporary inspector roles.