London : A white policeman has accused his department of racial discrimination after a British Indian colleague was promoted ahead of him.
Peter Richmond told an employment tribunal Wednesday that he was next in line for the post of inspector with West Yorkshire police, one of the country's most racially divided areas, but senior officers ignored departmental protocol and promoted Kash Singh ahead of him as a token representative.
"If Kash Singh had not been an ethnic minority officer, he would not have been earmarked for this role," Richmond said.
Richmond accused the district commander, Chief Superintendent Allan Doherty, of choosing Singh as an Asian figurehead to try to improve relations in the Manningham area, which was hit by race riots in 1995 and 2001, Daily Mail reported.
Singh was selected for the post of inspector in June 2006.
"Doherty made no efforts to find out what links I had with the community. Instead, they thought it would be nice to have a person there as a token representative.
"I recognise Kash's abilities and I recognise the talents he can bring to assist the force but there is always a turnover in inspectors and they could have brought him in line with protocols if they were a little bit patient."
Richmond alleged that when he complained to the police force's diversity department he was quickly offered an inspectorship in the Leeds area, but it was withdrawn after he insisted on pressing ahead with his case and quickly demoted as constable.
Doherty has, however, denied any form of discrimination and said Singh had been picked for promotion for his ability rather than his skin colour. He speaks Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu and is president of the British Indian Association.
"Since 2001, tensions between Muslim youths and police have been further strained because of terrorism," said Doherty. "This is a unique posting into a pressure cooker of an area.
"To have someone who has the credibility and trust of this community is something I can't put a price on. If someone thinks I'd give this most important position to someone according to their skin colour then they're deluded."