Northern Ireland

‘Culture of racism' within PSNI, says officer who claims he was abused because of ethnicity

The officer has claimed there is a culture of racism within the PSNI
The officer has claimed there is a culture of racism within the PSNI

The PSNI are facing serious allegations of racism within the organisation after an officer claimed to have been subjected to racist abuse by a number of his colleagues.

The constable, who is of Malaysian background, was allegedly called "n*****" and "black b*****d" by fellow officers.

He also claimed to have witnessed officers making racist comments about members of the public from an ethnic minority background.

The allegations form part of an industrial tribunal case the officer has launched against the PSNI for racial discrimination.

He claims there is a culture of racism within the PSNI and that he has been turned down for promotion because of his ethnicity.

Documents have been lodged with the Office of the Industrial Tribunals and Fair Employment Tribunal Northern Ireland claiming that from 2012 the officer was treated less favourably than other colleagues when it came to promotion and temporary promotion opportunities.

The PSNI said, as this is an ongoing case, it did not want to "prejudice the proceedings by commenting" on the allegations.

It is understood, however, the PSNI intends to robustly deny the claims.

Northern Ireland's Police Federation, the body that represents rank and file officers, has backed the officer's case and is providing legal support.

In a statement the officer claims during his time within the PSNI he has been subjected to a number of racist jibes, including being called "black b*****d" and "n*****".

It is understood the statement refers to an incident at a PSNI station when the officer was helping to stock the tuck shop.

An officer allegedly turned to him and commented: "You P***s will open a shop anywhere."

A claim the officer was present in a police vehicle on a number of occasions when officers made racist comments about people from an ethnic minority is also expected to form part of the case against the PSNI.

The constable is among a small number of officers from an ethnic minority background within the PSNI.

His full case against the organisation is due to be heard later this month.

It is understood a similar case was taken by the same officer in 2012 and was settled out of court.

The officer at the heart of the race allegations is believed to have been one of a number injured during rioting in Belfast in July 2015.

He and his colleagues helped to lift a car off a 16-year-old girl who became trapped under the vehicle after it slammed into pedestrians during violent clashes.

In 2012, PSNI bosses insisted the organisation did not tolerate racism or sectarianism.

That year four officers were suspended over racist and sectarian text messages.

Then deputy chief constable Judith Gillespie, who has since retired, revealed the organisation had in the past investigated incidents of phone text racism.

"They were dealt with very seriously, but this is the first time I can recall that we've suspended four officers," said Ms Gillespie.

She also pledged racism and sectarianism would not be tolerated in the service.

Ms Gillespie added at the time: "It is absolutely unacceptable for officers to engage in racist and sectarian language, and far less to exchange that in the form of texts to each other.

"The message is loud and clear, that racist and sectarian behaviour on the part of police officers is absolutely not tolerated by the Police Service of Northern Ireland."