Scotland Yard announced that a senior police officer who has made public statements concerning acts of prejudice against him has been suspended. Tarique Ghaffur has been placed on “authorized leave” because of fears his statement about prejudice were affecting the “operational effectiveness” of the force according to Commissioner Ian Blair. Mr. Blair insisted the suspension had nothing to do with the merits of the case now being reviewed, but argued Mr. Ghaffur’s “personal conduct” and his “media campaign” were impacting the entire police force and its ability to conduct operations. Blair made the rather strange comment that the behavior of a police officer who was concerned about prejudice was “having a negative impact on the London 2012 security programme and risks undermining confidence in it.” Huh?
The head of a police force should be concerned with morale, but to use a case of possible discrimination and somehow link it to the 2012 Olympics is rather a stretch. Alfred John, chairman of the Metropolitan Black Police Association said Mr. Ghaffur was being ?victimized” by Blair. “The message that this send to black and minority officers and staff is clear -exercise your right to challenge unfairness and discrimination at your own peril. It would be interesting if Mr. Blair would reveal the number of officers who have been placed on “leave” because they brought charges against any aspect of the police department.
Mr. Blair insists he still wants to resolve the complaint using a mediation process, but suspending someone who makes a complaint is hardly the way to achieve a mediated solution to a conflict. Last month, Mr. Ghaffur held a press conference to detail allegations of race, religious and age discrimination that have been made against the police force. He was told by the deputy police commissioner to “shut up.”
Perhaps, Mr. Blair could try another approach — expedite the entire process and get the hearing and resolution in a shorter time period.