Operation launched for ‘co-ordinated approach’ into Cleveland Police discrimination inquiries

An operation has been launched bringing together three discrimination investigations into Cleveland Police.

Jan 26, 2018

An operation has been launched bringing together three discrimination investigations into Cleveland Police. Operation Forbes, led by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), will provide greater focus and resources for the three ongoing inquiries. The first follows a 2015 employment tribunal that found retired Police Constable Nadeem Saddique was subject to racial discrimination. This investigation is already underway but the IOPC operation is intended to allow all lines of enquiry to be examined. Operation Forbes will also enable further detail to be gathered from an IOPC inquiry into a 2011 equality review carried out by the force, again including allegations of discrimination. A third investigation, led by West Midlands Police, is looking into Cleveland Police’s unlawful use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act in an attempt to uncover journalists’ sources. IOPC operations manager Lauren Collins said: “We have been dealing with a number of complaints and referrals concerning allegations of discrimination at Cleveland Police and have taken the decision to oversee these investigations under one strategic operation. “Given the seriousness of these allegations and the potential links between them, we want to ensure that we have a co-ordinated approach that makes best use of the resources and skills we have available to us.” The IOPC’s findings will be published at the conclusion of the operation. The investigation was welcomed by the National Black Police Association (NBPA), which accused Cleveland Police of having a culture of institutional racism going back decades. PC Saddiqque was awarded more than £457,000 in compensation in 2016 when a tribunal found he had faced discrimination on account of his race. The firearms officer claimed he was unfairly treated when he was forced out of the VIP protection unit, and the panel agreed “the majority of his claims were well founded”. Last November, another former Cleveland Police officer, Mark Dias, was given £500,000 after being abused for challenging racist treatment by his colleagues. A number of other officers have also won substantial payouts after pursuing damages. NBPA president Tola Munro urged Cleveland Police to work with its members to deal with institutional racism. He said: “The disgraceful treatment of Nadeem Saddique, Mark Dias, Sultan Alam, Waseem Khan and other cops based on their heritage shames nearly two centuries of the Peelian model of British policing. “But before talk about one bad apple, in recent years black and brown officers in other forces have found bananas in their lockers, toy monkeys on their desks, had their personal protective equipment destroyed, their cars impounded without reason and have been falsely arrested. “This racist behaviour is engrained in the culture of certain forces and Cleveland Police is not alone.” A Cleveland Police spokesperson said: “We will continue to assist the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) as it is important that these investigations are resolved in as timely a manner as possible due to their continued impact on all of those involved.”

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