Ghaffur blames Met Chief for police discrimination

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One of Britain's most senior police officers today pointed the finger of blame squarely at Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair as he launched his discrimination claim against the force.

Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur said he had been discriminated against "over a long period of time" by Sir Ian, and had been sidelined in his role leading security for London's 2012 Olympics.

Speaking at a press conference in central London Mr Ghaffur said his employment tribunal claim would include claims of race and religious discrimination.

Mr Ghaffur also said he had been "victimised" by the Met since his claim became public.

He said: "My current case is essentially to do with my treatment at the highest levels of the Met, in particular the discrimination I have been subject to over a long period of time by the present commissioner Sir Ian Blair.

"It is to do with the continuation of that treatment into the very important job I was doing as the co-ordinator of the security and safety of the 2012 Olympics.

"Finally it is to do with the victimisation I have suffered since my grievances leaked to the media."

Mr Ghaffur said his claim had nothing to do with his disappointment at not being promoted.

He said he found himself in "unfamiliar and uncomfortable territory" by launching the claim.

"I'm content with my achievements so far. 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," he said.

He said he brought the claim with "deep regret" and had sought mediation with the Met.

Mr Ghaffur's solicitor, Shahrokh Mireskandari, of Dean and Dean, said Sir Ian's fitness to continue as commissioner would hinge on the outcome of the case.

Alfred John, chairman of the Met's Black Police Association, said Mr Ghaffur's case was "not an isolated incident".

"Racism, both institutional and individual, still continues within the Met," he said.

"In fact, it has not improved that much since the Macpherson report."

The case files were filed with the employment tribunal on Friday.

Sir Ian has rejected the claims against him and said he has a "long, honourable and occasionally blood-stained record on the championing of diversity".