By Clive Wakely. Today marks five years to the day that a police force admitted it deliberately and illegally discriminated against white male candidates on grounds of race and gender.
In September 2006 a spokesman for Gloucestershire Police admitted breaking the law in operating a covert racist policy when it “deselected” 108 potential recruits for no other reason than they were white males.
As a consequence of a complaint made by one of the failed applicants a tribunal concluded that the force had been “at the very least disingenuous and at worst misleading”.
Compensation of £2,500 was subsequently paid out to the complainant in a case that proved deeply embarrassing and expensive for the force concerned.
It is thought that the resulting publicity resulted in a number of other discriminated-against applicants coming forward to seek compensation, at a final cost to the taxpayer believed to be in five, or possibly six, digits.
One applicant, who claimed he had wanted to join the police since he was a child, said: “I didn’t come here for the money. I just want to be heard.
“I firmly believe a wrong has been done here. I was, I still am, desperate to be a police officer and they have unfairly discriminated against me.”
The applicant was one of the 108 white men who had been told they had made it through to the second round of the recruitment process.
But, two months later, Gloucestershire Police informed them by letter that they had been “randomly deselected”; no further explanation was given.
It subsequently emerged that the police had taken the decision to deselect the men as part of what they described as an “advance diversity” drive; to be blunt – they were the wrong colour and gender.
In the final analysis it emerged that every one of the 129 female and ethnic minority candidates who had applied was accepted, along with 63 “token” white males.
Incredibly Gloucestershire Police were not the only force to be exposed as illegally discriminating on racial grounds against white males.
Less than a year previously the neighbouring Avon and Somerset force was also exposed as operating a racist recruitment policy, after it rejected 186 white applicants at the first stage of a selection process.
In November 2005 the force received 800 applications for its 180 vacancies.
Following complaints from baffled white hopefuls the force admitted they had discriminated against white male applicants is a bid to increase ethnic and female representation.
Unconfirmed reports suggested that whereas virtually all the ethnic, female and “gay” applicants were accepted, only then were the remaining unfilled posts allocated to white male applicants.
The then Chief Constable for Avon and Somerset Police was later reported as admitting that his force had “over-stepped the mark.”
No charges under the Race Relations Act or resignations are known to have followed.
Interestingly a spokesman for the Police Federation was quoted at the time as claiming that other forces were guilty of operating similar discriminatory policies, but had “yet to be found out”.
Peculiarly he neither named them nor, as far as we are aware, was pressed to name them; this being the same Police Federation that supports a ban preventing BNP members from being police officers.
In defence of the police it was alleged that they were merely “following orders”.
To be precise they were “under pressure to meet a Government target of ethnic minority recruits making up seven per cent of force strength by 2009”.
Whereas accusations of “racism” against the police by ethnic minority members are no doubt largely unfounded, police racism directed against white males happens to be an established fact.