Asian is turned down for police chief post

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An Asian police officer failed to become the first member of an ethnic minority to run a British force when he was turned down yesterday for the post of Chief Constable of Greater Manchester.

Senior Metropolitan Police officer Michael Todd, 44, was appointed to the £122,000 a year post, nudging out Ugandan-born Tarique Ghaffur, a colleague at Scotland Yard.

Mr Todd, an assistant commissioner with responsibility for territorial policing at Scotland Yard was already a rank above Mr Ghaffur, 46, a deputy assistant commissioner in charge of policy review and standards.

The racial dimension of policing will be a challenging part of Mr Todd's role after riots in the Greater Manchester area in Oldham last May, which began a summer of civil unrest in northern England.

In 1999, outgoing Chief Constable David Wilmot mounted a major offensive on racism, which he christened Operation Catalyst, after admitting members of his force were institutionally racist.

Last December, figures relating to 54,000 stop-searches by Greater Manchester Police between April 2000 and March 2001 revealed Afro-Caribbeans were four times more likely to be stopped than whites.

Mr Ghaffur began his own police career as a PC in Salford, Greater Manchester, nearly 30 years ago. He was only the second non-white officer in a force among more than 6,000.

Mr Todd, who takes over a force with 11,000 police and civilian staff, said: "It is a wonderful opportunity. I am looking forward to the responsibility of driving crime down and working with the force and the police authority."

He has previously worked for Essex and Nottinghamshire police. Subject to approval by the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, he will take up his post on 1 October.