15 Oct 2008

Black police officer 'wore traditional African robe to work in protest over dress code'

Last updated at 5:11 PM on 14th October 2008

Paul Bailey

Detective Constable Paul Bailey was found guilty of wearing an African robe, arguing with a senior officer and disputing his appraisal at a tribunal

A black policeman wore a traditional African robe to work after an argument over the force's dress code.

Unhappy with wearing a necktie to work, Detective Constable Paul Bailey, 39, decided to don the traditional robe.

His bizarre protest came after a number of disputes with senior officers over his behaviour and attitude on the force.

After a disgreement over his work appraisal, the detective accused five senior officers at Greater Manchester Police (GMP) of racial discrimination.

A full investigation in his claims was launched by the neighbouring West Yorkshire Police but his complaint was later found to be unsubstantiated.

But senior officers then launched a two-year inquiry into the behaviour of the detective which ended in a tribunal last week.

Following the hearing he was found guilty of wearing the robe, arguing with a senior officer over the force policy on neck ties, disputing his appraisal in an unprofessional way and appearing to look disinterested during briefings.

The panel found the incidents represented a 'continuing course of conduct' and that over a long period of time his 'behaviour was unacceptable'. But the panel ruled he should not face any disciplinary action.   

Mr Bailey, 39, who has been an officer for 18 years and has several commendations for his work, denied the claims.

Last night the Black and Asian Police Association (BAPA) said the investigation had only been launched because the detective had made an unsuccessful complaint of racial discrimination against the force.

African robe

A traditional African robe similar to the one Detective Constable Paul Bailey wore in protest against the force's dress code

Mr Crichlow from BAPA said: 'Paul Bailey has been victimised because he has made a complaint.

'He raised an issue to try to help the force and as a result they try to shoot him down in flames.

'There will have to be a health warning on GMP's equal opportunities policy. It is dead in the water and not worth the paper it is written on.

'If somebody comes to me for advice about what to do about an issue of concern I will have to tell them, you can make a complaint, but I can't guarantee you won't be victimised as a result.

'It means people will be very reluctant to raise issues of concern in the future.'

Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney said: 'The individual made a complaint of racism which was independently investigated by West Yorkshire Police. 

'The force found no evidence of racism, but advised that GMP should consider taking action against the officer for breaches of the police code of conduct.

'We took further independent advice and considered the issues against force policy before deciding the most appropriate action was to proceed to a misconduct tribunal.  

'The panel found that the officer had breached misconduct rules on four occasions but decided that no sanctions should be taken against the individual. 

'Consideration was taken of the length of time between the complaints and the hearing, and the fact that the officer's performance was reported to have improved.'

Mr Bailey has taken legal advice and is taking the force to a employment tribunal on the grounds of racial discrimination.

Mr Sweeney said: 'As we are aware there is an employment tribunal pending, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.'

Mr Bailey refused to comment.

The Met Police is mired in controversy and infighting after the country's top Asian policeman Tarique Ghaffur, was put on gardening leave and another senior ethnic minority officer, Commander Ali Dizaei, was suspended last month over misconduct allegations.

The Met Commissioner Sir Ian Blair was forced to step down after Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said he had no confidence in him.

Source: Daily Mail


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