Asian police chief denies agreement over race claim

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The Independent Online

Britain's most senior Asian police officer spoke out today to deny his race claim against Scotland Yard has been settled.

Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur said reports that the matter is closed and he will receive a £300,000 pay-off are wrong.

It was widely reported last week that a deal has been signed off by both sides after weeks of behind-the-scenes legal wrangling.

Mr Ghaffur was expected to sign a gagging clause and agree to tone down some of his explosive claims of racism and discrimination against the Met.

But it is understood the row remains deeply acrimonious as his representatives and those of Britain's largest force try to hammer out an agreement.

Sources close to the negotiations said they may continue for several weeks as both sides suspect each other of leaking information to the press.

In a statement, Mr Ghaffur said: "In relation to my Employment Tribunal proceedings against the Commissioner Sir Ian Blair and Deputy Assistant Commissioner Richard Bryan, contrary to the recent reporting in the press at this point in time there has been no settlement in this matter."

Mr Ghaffur, 53, was effectively suspended in September after publicly announcing that he was suing his employer for racial discrimination.

The senior officer pointed the finger of blame squarely at his colleague, Commissioner Sir Ian Blair.

He said Sir Ian had discriminated against him "over a long period of time", sidelined him from his 2012 Olympics role and victimised him.

And he claimed to have compiled a damning dossier of evidence dating back several years.

Speaking two months ago, Mr Ghaffur said: "I'm not seeking massive monetary benefits and I do not have grievances against the whole of the Met, an organisation that I dearly love and admire."

The legal bid sparked a furious row that threatened to engulf the force in the biggest race crisis since the MacPherson report, which followed the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

It eventually led to the Met Black Police Association encouraging potential black recruits to avoid the force.

Deputy Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson, now tipped to take over from Sir Ian, said the force would robustly challenge the allegations.

The Metropolitan Police Authority and Metropolitan Police said today that "negotiations are ongoing".