Just one ethnic minority top officer in UK

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN'S ONLY ethnic minority police chief said yesterday that some black and Asian officers felt they were being discriminated against and prevented from gaining promotion because of their colour.

Tarique Ghaffur, 44, Deputy Chief Constable of Lancashire, said far more needed to be done to promote ethnic minority officers. He called on chief officers to learn how to manage more diverse groups of candidates.

Mr Ghaffur, who is tipped to be the first Asian chief constable, is the only officer of Association of Chief Police Officers ranking from an ethnic minority. He was made an assistant chief constable of the Lancashire force in 1996 and is currently on secondment as the director of the Police Information Technology Organisation, a post equivalent to the rank of a deputy chief constable.

Mr Ghaffur, the son of a businessman expelled from Uganda by Idi Amin, who joined the police 25 years ago, said he felt he had not suffered discrimination by white officers. He moved to Britain in 1972 and joined the Manchester police force in 1974. He has a BA in public administration from Manchester Polytechnic and an MA in criminology from Keele University. He put his success down to being prepared to gain experience from a wide variety of areas, working hard and being single-minded.

However he said that other ethnic minority officers had not had such a positive experience. Other junior black and Asian officers, in a series of recent articles, have been less diplomatic, and complained about constant racist abuse and discrimination.

Mr Ghaffur said: "If you look at the bottom of the ladder the numbers have been increasing steadily. Unfortunately, what we have not seen is a gradual increase in the numbers in the middle and senior management. I know of colleagues who feel they have had little pro-active development. They are not happy with some of the processes of promotion.

"We need to learn how to manage teams that are more diverse. There needs to be a level playing field."