Scotland Yard race row settled as Muslim officer departs


London : A potentially damaging legal row over allegations of racism in Britain’s top police force was resolved with an out-of-court settlement Tuesday.

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However, the agreement struck between Scotland Yard and Tarique Ghaffur, the man who made the allegations, also entails Ghaffur’s departure from the service after 34 years.

Ghaffur, who was third-in-command at Scotland Yard and the force’s most high-ranking Muslim officer, accused outgoing police chief Ian Blair of racial discrimination earlier this year and said he would take his case to an industrial tribunal.

The simmering row played a part in Blair’s decision to step down from the leadership of Scotland Yard early next month.

A joint statement issued Tuesday said that while Ghaffur had retracted his allegations, the force had recognized that “hurt” had been caused to the 53-year-old officer.

Ghaffur, a Ugandan Asian who joined British police at the age of 16, was understood to have received a pay-off of about 300,000 pounds ($450,000) and will be able to draw his full pension.

Commentators said the end of the public wrangle involving Ghaffur was unlikely to allay concern over below-target recruitment of officers from ethnic minority groups into Britain’s police force.

Recent government figures showed that, at national level, 4.1 percent of officers were from ethnic minorities, far short of the 7-percent target set for 2009.