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News ->Asian race row police officer suspended

Asian race row police officer suspended
London, September 9, 2008 (IANS)

Tariq GhaffurBritain's most senior Asian police officer has been "relieved of his command" after accusing London police of racism, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, said Tuesday. Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur was put on "authorised leave of absence" by Commissioner Blair, who met with Ghaffur and his lawyer at Scotland Yard. Ghaffur has lodged a £1.2 million racial discrimination claim against the Metropolitan Police of London, sparking what the British media has described as a "war of words" between him and Blair.

Blair, who became controversial after policemen shot dead an innocent Brazilian in the aftermath of the 7/7 suicide bombings in London, said he took the decision after a recent press conference by Ghaffur on his race claim case. "It is also clear this is having a negative impact on the London 2012 Olympic Security programme and risks undermining confidence in it," the statement said in a reference to Ghaffur's position as head of security planning for the London Olympics.

The chairman of the National Black Police Association (NBPA), Alfred John, said it was "disappointed" with the "unprecedented decision" against Ghaffur - a much-decorated police officer. He said Blair's "message to his employees and the people of London is very clear - you can come and work for us but don't make any complaints if you are black, Asian or Muslim because the organisation will get you."

But Blair claimed his decision had nothing to do with the race claim case. "Rather, my decision results from the way in which he has chosen to conduct himself, for example by the manner in which statements were made in his press conference, and in conducting a media campaign, both personally and through the advisors and organisations supporting him," Blair said.

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