Paul Stokes, telegraph.co.uk, May 21
Complaints by a detective that she was sexually assaulted by a colleague were not properly dealt with because their police force feared being accused of racism, an employment tribunal was told yesterday.
Det Con Jean McKee, 43, who is married to a policeman, alleged that she was groped by Shaquille Siddiqui, a fellow detective, on three occasions but no action was taken against him.
Ceri Widdett, her counsel, claimed that several other women, police and members of the public, had reported his behaviour to Humberside Police which failed to deal with him.
Miss Widdett told the Hull tribunal that racism and sexism against white police officers could be endemic within the force. She applied for an order for the hearing to be supplied with details of complaints made against Humberside officers in recent years, the ethnicity of those accused and the outcome.
The application was resisted by Nicola Twine, counsel for the force, but John Hepworth, the tribunal chairman, ruled that statistics covering five years period should be provided.
Mrs McKee, with 23 years’ service, has brought an action against David Westwood, the Chief Constable, claiming that she suffered sexual and racial discrimination.
The hearing was told that she alleged that Siddiqui grabbed her at a Christmas function in a pub, groped her and forced his tongue into her mouth.
She also alleges that he molested her in a police canteen twice and repeatedly used explicit language towards her.
Miss Widdett said that Mr Siddiqui did not face any disciplinary hearing as a result of the complaints and was given effective promotion while Mrs McKee was not. She said: “We maintain her application was dealt with less favourably because she was white.”
Her lawyers claim to have evidence from six other alleged victims of Det Con Siddiqui, including another policewoman who claims he slapped her buttocks.
Miss Widdett told the hearing: “Police officers within the pay of the chief constable were consistently subject to sexual discrimination and the force has tacitly condoned that by failing to deal with Pc Siddiqui.”
Mrs McKee, the fourth generation of her family to join the police service, is a victim liaison officer and a Police Federation representative.
She has worked on several murder investigations and been commended for her work but has been off since December and diagnosed as suffering from work-related stress. Mr Siddiqui has continued to work as a detective.
The tribunal was adjourned and afterwards Fraser Sampson, Mrs McKee’s solicitor, said: “Reluctantly, she has had to take this action. It is the only course open to her.
“It is our contention that the chief constable did not deal with this complaint appropriately because of concern it could lead to a counter claim of racism. That is unfair on our client and we believe may amount to race discrimination in itself.”