Sikh police officer refused to remove his turban

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Sikh police officer refused to remove his turban

Post by falkor »

A Sikh police officer was “humiliated” by his Greater Manchester Police colleagues after refusing to remove his turban for training and undergoing practices that would breach his faith, an employment tribunal heard.

By Andrew Hough
Published: 7:00AM BST 17 Sep 2009
Image Pc Singh told the hearing that he was told to remove his turban
Gurmeal Singh, 31, was “deeply offended” by his Greater Manchester Police colleagues’ actions that left him suffering panic attacks and high blood pressure and has been hospitalised twice.

Pc Singh, who is based at Wythenshawe Police station, near Manchester, told the hearing that he was told to remove his turban during a training exercise.

He also claims he was “coerced” into walking through a petrol fire, despite telling trainers about a flammable gel he had applied to his beard, which he feared if it was burnt would break the strict beliefs which he had observed since he was 15.

When officers suggested he get a modified turban, the officer, who joined the force in 2003 as a Police Community Support officer at Northernden police station, said he feared he would be made to look like a character from the BBC comedy Only Fools and Horses.

The tribunal in Manchester heard that he felt like he was from an episode of the TV sitcom in which Del Boy Trotter took a delivery of “crash turbans” - helmets with cloth wrapped around it.

When he complained, he claimed one sergeant appeared to trivialise the matter, telling him: “This is what you signed up for.”

Senior officers were even alleged to have made “racist remarks about machine gunning down Eid celebrators” who were celebrating the end of Ramadan, the hearing heard.

The officer, who is claiming £200,000 in compensation from the force, was serving at Northenden, Greater Manchester at the time.

"I am deeply offended by the way I have been treated by the police organisation and by various colleagues," he told the hearing.

“My turban is not an article of clothing like a shirt or tie - it is part of me, a part of my religion and I feel as though my religion and I have become an issue for GMP.

“It has made me feel alienated. I was deeply offended and humiliated.”

The hearing was told PC Singh was off sick in April for three months but has returned to light duties at Wythenshawe police station.

GMP deny racial discrimination.

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Re: Sikh police officer refused to remove his turban

Post by Fudgepanda »

I haven't heard about this case. There was a Sikh P.C. working for GMP a good 10 years ago and I'm not aware of him going to an Industrial Tribunal. I think there is a culture within all sections of Uniform life within the UK, be it the Police or Armed Forces. In the Forces, tall people are often known as Shorty, the short as Lofty. Those called Smith are often referred to as Smudger and someone whose name is White will be known as Chalkie. Overweight folks could be known as Slim and the skinny ones Arbuckle. This is quite often a rite of passage. Get through this and you are part of the "Group".

There was a case of a Muslim P.C. who went to tribunal over his colleagues never stopping for food at a Halal establishment. I find that quite incredulous as there isn't a Relief anywhere that can resist a Ruby at least once a week. Most of the Cops I know take their own food and don't rely on take-aways

If the Sikh Officer has been asked to run through fire, he must have been undergoing Public Order Training in which case he'd have to have to wear a Public Order helmet, which would mean removing his Turban, which would in turn be against his religion.

Unfortunately, there have been a lot of cases of Officers belonging to Ethnic Minorities using various Forces' sensitivity to accusations of racism to their advantage. One Muslim P.C. I know regularly goes off to pray, yet isn't seen again for 2 hours. Another regularly goes to pray whenever a foot patrol in the rain is in the offing. A Sikh has refused to cycle as his inability to wear a cycle helmet meant it could be unsafe. So he always patrols in a vehicle when others get cold or wet. Another Muslim P.C. has hacked off his colleagues because after using virtually all his holidays, requested permission to take leave he didn't have in order to visit Mecca. There was some confusion as to whether he'd actually visited the place at all.

This man may have valid complaints, but some Ethnic Minority Officers are doing the same amount of damage to the progress of their "Brothers and Sisters" through the Police that women who made false allegations of rape did to those women who had genuinely suffered that awful assault.

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