Sir Ian Blair defends race record at the Met

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The Independent Online

Sir Ian Blair has hit back at allegations of racial discrimination in the Metropolitan Police after a senior Asian officer said he was repeatedly overlooked for promotion in favour of a "golden circle" of white officers.

Commander Shabir Hussain, 45, has taken the Met to an employment tribunal after he was rejected an "unprecedented" four times in his application for promotion to deputy assistant commissioner. He alleges that Sir Ian's "favourite sons and daughters" made the jump after a maximum of two attempts, and that he was sidelined with the command of a traffic unit.

Mr Hussain is the Met's second most senior ethnic minority officer. His tribunal comes shortly after Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur said he was considering similar action.

Giving evidence at the hearing in Stratford, east London, the Commissioner defended his record but said he had shouted at Mr Hussain when the officer had raised a budget query at a meeting two years ago on a multi-billion pound project.

He said: "I am pretty sure I did raise my voice with Shabir. I did say that I was not interested in someone just bringing a new problem to my table, I wanted a solution. I think Shabir persisted and I probably was pretty brusque." He had apologised by email the next day, he said.

Mr Hussain is suing the Met authority, its chairman Len Duvall and Sir Ian for race discrimination and unlawful deduction of wages. The hearing continues.