Cleveland PC issued with written warning over argument with Muslim colleague
Categories: Latest News
Thursday June 16 2016
The Northern Echo reports on a written warning issued to a Cleveland police officer following a dispute with a Muslim colleague which was alleged to have been racially motivated.
The paper reports Police Constable Tracy Houldey appeared at a disciplinary hearing on Monday accused of discriminatory behaviour and other allegations although a racism accusation was dropped after witnesses said they did not believe the incident in question was racially motivated.
The paper notes the incident in which PC Houldey asked a Muslim colleague, “Why do you celebrate Christmas? You’re a Muslim.”
Houldey later added, “Sikh, Muslim Hindu, what is the difference?”
The disciplinary panel heard the incident started out as a light hearted conversation at Middlesbrough police station before it became progressively heated “until the pair were shouting and PC Houldey swearing”.
A number of witnesses to the altercation said they did not think PC Houldey’s comments were racially motivated. PC Neil Taylor described PC Houldey’s comments as “ignorant and insensitive” but said he did not believe them to be racist or maliciously intended.
PC Neil Harrison told the disciplinary hearing, “I didn’t deem it to be a racist incident. Throughout the years I have known her [PC Houldey] I have never heard her make a comment that is racist. I do not believe she meant it to be offensive.”
The disciplinary panel, which met at Cleveland Police headquarters, after hearing the evidence judged PC Houldey’s behaviour to be misconduct and issued her with a written warning.
Cleveland Police have suffered from a number of criticisms over the force’s handling of race issues with Muslim firearms officer, Nadeem Saddique, successfully suing the force for racial discrimination at an employment tribunal hearing last year. In January, Cleveland Police were accused of abusing the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to trawl through email accounts with allegations that the force may have misused the powers “to see emails containing details about at least three Asian officers claiming discrimination,” including emails sent by PC Nadeem Saddique.