This Is London, July 20, 2007
‘Passed over’: Sergeant Peter Richmond claims he was overlooked because senior officers wanted to fast-track Kash Singhan (below)
A white policeman has begun a racial discrimination claim after an Asian colleague was promoted ahead of him.
Peter Richmond, 44, says he was next in line for the high-profile role of inspector in one of the country’s most racially divided inner-city areas.
But senior officers ignored force protocol and promoted Kash Singh ahead of him as a “token representative”, he told an employment tribunal.
Mr Richmond, who has 25 years’ service, said he was among 20 sergeants selected by West Yorkshire Police for promotion to inspector in October 2005, but by last July was one of three who had not been given a promotion.
Mr Singh was selected for inspector in June 2006. Force protocol dictates that those still to receive their placement must take precedence over those on the next list, but instead Mr Singh was given the job.
He accused the district commander, Chief Superintendent Allan Doherty, of choosing Mr Singh as an Asian figurehead to try to improve relations in the Manningham area of Bradford, which was hit by race riots in 1995 and 2001.
Mr Richmond, who was made a sergeant in 1996, said: “If Kash Singh had not been an ethnic minority officer, he would not have been earmarked for this role.
“Mr Doherty made no efforts to find out what links I had with the community. Instead, they thought it would be nice to have a person there as a token representative.
“I recognise Kash’s abilities and I recognise the talents he can bring to assist the force but there is always a turnover in inspectors and they could have brought him in in line with protocols if they were a little bit patient.”
When he complained to the force’s diversity department he was quickly offered an inspectorship in the Leeds area, but it was withdrawn after he insisted on pressing ahead with his case.
Mr Richmond, a married father of two, from Skipton in North Yorkshire, was then demoted to constable after being accused of discrimination himself.
It was claimed he refused to let a female community support officer go to the lavatory, the hearing in Leeds was told on Wednesday. He is appealing against that decision.
Mr Richmond says the claim was brought against him in an attempt to bully him into dropping his racial discrimination case.
Mr Doherty denied discrimination and said Mr Singh had been picked for promotion for his ability rather than his skin colour. He speaks Hindu, Punjabi and Urdu and is president of the British Indian Association.
“Since 2001, tensions between Muslim youths and police have been further strained because of terrorism,” said Mr Doherty. “This is a unique posting into a pressure cooker of an area.
“To have someone who has the credibility and trust of this community is something I can’t put a price on. If someone thinks I’d give this most important position to someone according to their skin colour then they’re deluded.”
Mr Richmond’s case is being funded by the Police Federation. The tribunal was adjourned until August 24.