Police officer wins job back after claiming that calling someone a f****** P*** is ‘not the worst kind of racism’

PC Katie Barratt will also be entitled to back pay, despite a panel hearing ‘her prejudice leaked out’ when she drunkenly said ‘I wish these f****** P**** would hurry up with my pizza’ at a Newcastle takeaway

Adam Lusher
Wednesday 27 March 2019 11:32 GMT
PC wins job back after claiming that calling someone a f****** P*** is ‘not the worst kind of racism’

A police officer sacked for racially abusing Asian takeaway staff has been given her job back after telling an appeal hearing that drunkenly calling someone “a f****** P***” was “not the worst kind of racism”.

PC Katie Barratt was dismissed from Northumbria Police after colleagues heard her saying “I wish these f****** P**** would hurry up with my pizza” at the Spice of Punjab takeaway in Newcastle after the 2017 staff Christmas party.

Following her June 2018 sacking, Northumbria Police condemned what she said as “wholly unacceptable”, insisting: “There is no place for this type of language or any other form of racist behaviour within Northumbria Police.”

But an independent appeal panel has now overturned her sacking, with the chair Dorian Lovell-Park condemning her racist remarks but wishing her luck in resuming her career. Ms Barratt, in her twenties, will also be entitled to back pay, thought to be worth about £15,000.

After two hours of deliberation, the appeal panel upheld the gross misconduct finding against her, but downgraded the punishment to a final warning.

Her barrister, Guy Ladenburg, had admitted her behaviour in the takeaway had been an “abomination”.

But Mr Ladenburg told the panel Ms Barratt felt she shouldn’t have been sacked “because it is not the worst kind of racism”.

Instead the lawyer claimed it was a one-off for which she should be given a second chance rather than the “nuclear option” of dismissal.

He added that Ms Barratt had come from a “police family”, had a promising career before the 2017 incident, and had “not touched a drop of drink” since.

The panel was also told that the takeaway staff had not heard what Ms Barratt said. Only her colleagues heard her remark, with her sacking coming after one of her fellow officers reported it to superiors.

Steven Reid, speaking on behalf of the police, said regardless of who heard what, the force felt that racism from an officer – on or off-duty – was never acceptable.

“The appellant didn’t go out that night to deliberately racially abuse members of the public,” said Mr Reid. “But the fact remains she did. Her prejudice on that evening leaked out.”

Seeking to block Ms Barratt’s return to the police, Mr Reid added that what she said that night could “seriously damage” the force’s reputation: “Sadly, it confirms a stereotype that is unfortunately held in some communities about the police.”

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After the hearing, Detective Superintendent Sav Patsalos, head of Northumbria Police’s professional standards department, said: “We acknowledge the decision of the independent panel and will now take some time to review its findings.

“It is important to recognise that the decision to dismiss PC Barratt was taken by an independent panel and it was within the officer’s rights to appeal this decision.

“We expect officers and staff to maintain the highest levels of professionalism at all times and I want to assure the public that we are committed to taking positive action when individuals fall below the expected standards of behaviour.”

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