Manchester Police HR chief denies ‘racism’ claim despite court ruling

The police HR chief embroiled in a bitter employment tribunal, which ruled his force was racist for repeatedly rejecting a Sikh officer has insisted he did not discriminate.

PC Sangram Singh-Bhacker, an Asian officer living in Manchester, had applied on several occasions to join Greater Manchester Police (GMP) , but he was turned down 12 times, despite having previous experience working with several other forces. One rejection letter, written by personnel director Andrew Marston, said: “I am not prepared to consider you as a potential transferee with the GMP now or in the future.”

The tribunal ruled last week that racial discrimination did occur, as a white officer of similar age and experience was allowed to transfer to the force. GMP told the tribunal there were several reasons why it repeatedly refused to hire Singh-Bhacker, including that he did not meet national fitness test standards.

After the ruling, Marston told Personnel Today: “We are disappointed with the outcome of the case – we feel the tribunal hasn’t fully appreciated certain aspects. GMP categorically denies that any of the rejections were connected with [Singh-Bhacker’s] ethnic background. But we accept we failed to convince the tribunal on that.”

It is thought the way in which GMP and Marston presented evidence at the tribunal hindered the case. The tribunal said it did not find Marston to be “a convincing witness” and expressed surprise at some of the evidence and lack of documentation presented by the force.

Marston confirmed that GMP would not appeal the decision.

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