The IPCC can now confirm that 15 current and former officers and civilian staff from Bedfordshire Police are under investigation for gross misconduct for their roles in a case of internal racial discrimination.
The eleven officers and four staff are being investigated for their handling of the case of Harmit Bahra. Ten are now retired or no longer serving with a police force, two are working for other police forces and three remain at Bedfordshire police force. Of the eleven police officers, all but one hold a rank higher than inspector.
In July 2014, an employment tribunal found that Police Sergeant Harmit Bahra had been discriminated against by Bedfordshire Police, on the grounds of race and awarded him a significant sum for loss of earnings due to loss of promotion, pension loss and injury to feelings.
Prior to the tribunal, Mr Bahra made a number of complaints about the discrimination he alleged he was receiving from Bedfordshire Police. The tribunal made specific comments in relation to how Mr Bahra was unfavourably treated and how the force handled Mr Bahra’s complaints and made specific comments in relation to the conduct of named individuals.
In October 2014 that matter was referred to the IPCC by Bedfordshire Police and an independent IPCC investigation was declared in May 2015. Ten officers were notified that their conduct was under investigation prior to December 2015.
In February 2016 the investigation was widened. The IPCC has now notified a further five individuals that they are under investigation for suspected gross misconduct.
The investigation remains ongoing and has analysed substantial amounts of paperwork, emails, human-resources records and has interviewed a significant number of witnesses. The officers and staff under investigation are to now be interviewed.
IPCC Associate Commissioner Guido Liguori said:
“This has been a complex and resource-intensive investigation that has now reached a critical and significant stage. This case raises serious allegations against a large number of officers and staff throughout Bedfordshire Police.
“We have now notified fifteen individuals that their conduct is under investigation and will be working hard to bring this investigation to a close and provide our report to the appropriate police forces to determine next steps.”