I read with interest at the employment tribunal between the Metropolitan Police and ex DC Kevin Maxwell.Â
In an interview in the Guardian, Maxwell talks about the abuse he received from his colleagues relating to his race and sexuality.
He is a black gay male who was dismissed for gross misconduct in December 2012 after he went off sick with depression having been the victim of both racial and homophobic bullying in the workplace. Â He won his first employment tribunal in February 2012. Â The tribunal found in favour of Maxwell on 40 points. Â 4 – 0.
In an interview with the Guardian he states that he made his first complaint about colleagues in July 2009 Â using him as a ‘buffer’ – asking him to stop Black and Asian people first before his colleagues took over as they stated that ‘blacks don’t complain about blacks’.
In March 2009 another officer made comments about gay men ‘taking it up the arse’, and a DS whilst doing a presentation to colleagues in June 2009 put up a picture of a male in a fairground surrounded by children said he was ‘as gay as a gay in a gay tea shop’. Â These are just a few examples, and he states that when he did talk to a senior officer about it being hard being black and gay in the police, Â he was told ‘that’s life’.
When I read his interview I just felt dismay. Â I really thought that we were past all this behaviour – this is basic – we are all the same. Â We are all human. Â It really shouldn’t matter whether you are black or white,Â heterosexual,Â homosexual, transgender or transexual – we are all the same. We are all supposed to be working together as officers, regardless of who we are. Â Just how is this going to help with trying to encourage the public that the Police are not homophobic or racist? Â It’s not because unfortunately we still have officers who are homophobic and racist. Â Is it any wonder we still have officers who are still so worried about ‘coming out’ or have colleagues who make derogatory comments about their heritage. Â It is the minority of officers I would like to think, however, you know as well as I do, it’s the minority that give all of us the same name. Â There is no place for people like these in the Police and should be dealt with expeditiously.
We have a hard enough time dealing with members of the public who commit ‘hate crime’ – do we really have to put up with it from our colleagues? Â The answer is No. Â This is totally unacceptable and we investigate the public for those who commit an offence so why should officers be any different. Â You are accountable for your actions and answerable to your colleagues and anyone who is having issues relating to race, sexuality or sex should be able to go to their line manager and be able to speak to them in confidence without fear of being branded as a ‘whistle blower’. Â Unfortunately the ‘mud’ tends to stick on the person who is the receiver of the abuse rather than those who are abusing. Â Things need to change people – and fast. Â If officers are losing confidence with their colleagues and managers then how do you expect members of the public to have confidence in the Police?