Crown Prosecution Service denies racism claim

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has denied its recruitment strategy is racist, following claims by one of its prosecutors that she was discriminated against because of her colour.

Prosecutor Uma Bhardwaj claims that several white colleagues with less experience were promoted ahead of her and offered more money – an experience that left her feeling “demeaned and undervalued”.

Bhardwaj, who is still working at the CPS, is taking the government department to the Central London Employment Tribunal. But Angela O’Connor, HR director at the CPS, denied the department’s recruitment processes were racist.

“We have worked very hard to ensure that our processes are free from discrimination,” she said.

O’Connor said the CPS was hopeful of resolving the issue, but she labelled Bhardwaj’s decision to go public on the tribunal claim “hugely disappointing” and “not very helpful”.

In 2001, the CPS was labelled institutionally racist following an independent inquiry. Although the service escaped a formal investigation, it agreed to work with the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) to implement wide-ranging improvements. The CRE now uses the CPS as a best practice case study for other organisations.

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