Battle lines drawn in London police racism row

August 29th, 2008 - 1:09 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 29 (IANS) The racism charge levelled by the seniormost Asian officer of the London Metropolitan Police against its chief Ian Blair has grown into a full-blown public brawl with both sides openly challenging each other.Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur had earlier this month filed a case with the employment tribunal levelling charges of discrimination on the grounds of race and religion against Blair.

In his first comments made publicly about the row, Ghaffur told a press conference Thursday that he had been “victimised” by the Met since his claim was made public.

“My current case is essentially to do with my treatment at the highest levels of the Met, in particular the discrimination I have been subject to over a long period of time by the present commissioner, Blair. It is to do with the continuation of the treatment into the very important job I was doing as the coordinator of the security and safety of the 2012 Olympics,” Ghaffur said.

Deputy Commissioner Paul Stephenson lost no time in joining issues with Ghaffur, saying the department will challenge his claims.

“We have only received them in the last few hours and I consider that if these proceedings have to take place, there is a proper place for conducting and airing these matters and that is within the tribunal itself.

“In short, I think it is long past time that we all shut up, stop making public statements about private disputes and get on with the job we are paid to do,” Stephenson said.

Ghaffur’s solicitor, Shahrokh Mireskandari of Dean and Dean, said Blair’s fitness to continue as commissioner would hinge on the outcome of the case.

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