Former police officer wins over £200,000 in Employment Tribunal discrimination claim

MoJA police force has been ordered to pay over £200,000 to a retired police officer after a tribunal found that the police officer, who is Indian, had been the subject of race discrimination by the police force.

Sergeant Hamrit Bahra, 48, was awarded £209,188 by an Employment Tribunal after it was found that he had been discriminated against because of his race and victimised by Bedfordshire Police force.

Sgt Bahra, who is Indian and had worked for the Bedfordshire Police for 31 years before he retired earlier this year, made the claims to the Employment Tribunal after he alleged that he had been passed over for promotion and victimised between 2007 and 2010. Mr Bahra claimed that, as a result of the discrimination that he had been subjected to, he had lost the opportunity to become the first Indian inspector and superintendent in the Bedfordshire Police.

Mr Bahra, giving evidence at the Employment Tribunal, claimed that he had first encountered discrimination in the force when he went to take his inspector’s exam and interview board in 2006. He stated that he had passed all of the tests for his inspector’s exam and had come second in terms of ability but was still not promoted to the tank of inspector, despite all seven of the other officers who had passed the test that year being offered temporary inspector roles. Mr Bahra also claimed that he had been subjected to misconduct proceedings for over three years as a result of legitimate overtime claims that he had made, when other police officers were allowed to file false claims.

After the conclusion of the Employment Tribunal claim, Sgt Bahra commented as follows: “I was discriminated against and victimised, cheated out of promotion, cheated out of my ambition to be the first Indian inspector and superintendent in Bedfordshire policing history. They haven’t just ruined the last seven years of my career, they have ruined the last 31 years of my life.”

The Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police, Colette Paul, gave the follow statement: “We are working hard to ensure that all lessons are being fully captured and considered as part of our continuous improvement work which will include consultation with key partners including the Police Federation and the Black Police Association”. She also offered her “sincerest apologies”.

Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “If an employee complains about discrimination, harassment or victimisation in the workplace then employers should take immediate steps to undertake a fair and prompt investigation into the complaints made. A failure to do so may result in expensive and time-consuming Employment Tribunal proceedings and, potentially, bad publicity.”

Bedfordshire Police have stated that they will not be appealing the Employment Tribunal case.