In the Media

Police officers cleared of racism now face possible disciplinary proceedings

PUBLISHED November 30, 2012

Constables Kevin Hughes, 36, and David Hair, 42, who were based at Newham, East London, were accused of racially aggravated harassment after being reported for allegedly offensive comments made while on duty.

Pc Hughes admitted comparing a black man in the street to a monkey during a discussion about evolution but denied it had anything to do with his race.

Meanwhile fellow Newham officer Pc Hair, stood trial after suggesting to a black female colleague that she was "going home to cook bananas".

In the case of Pc Hughes, Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle said while his language had been "unacceptable and offensive" it did not amount to a crime.

And he ruled that Pc Hair was not guilty because he may not have even been aware that his remark could be offensive.

But despite both being cleared of any wrongdoing they could still lose their jobs after the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found they may have a case to answer for gross misconduct and urged Scotland Yard to give "serious considerations" to its findings.

IPCC commissioner Mike Franklin said: "I urge the Metropolitan Police Service to give serious consideration to the issues raised in our report. Any misconduct hearing will need to determine whether the comments are a breach of the professional standards expected of police officers."

Both the officers were suspended following the allegations, and Scotland Yard is currently considering whether to take disciplinary action.

Commander Allan Gibson, from the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards, said: "As soon as the actions of these officers were brought to the attention of the Directorate of Professional Standards the matter was taken seriously and, following careful consideration, referred to the IPCC.

"The Commissioner has made it quite clear that racism is not acceptable within the Met. This is a view supported by the majority of officers and staff.

"Now that criminal proceedings are complete, and it should be noted they have been found not guilty of any criminal offences, we will now consider misconduct proceedings."