Top Asian cop put on 'gardening leave'

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By RICHARD EDWARDS AND ROBERT WINNETT THE DAILY TELEGRAPH in London
  • Published 9.09.08
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London, Sept. 9: Tarique Ghaffur, Britain’s most senior Asian police officer, has been relieved of his duty by the Metropolitan Police, the Daily Telegraph can disclose.

The assistant commissioner, who announced an unprecedented race claim against Sir Ian Blair last month, was summoned to Scotland Yard and told he would be put on “gardening leave”. It is the latest twist in a damaging “civil war” which has undermined Sir Ian’s leadership of Britain’s largest force and led last week to new claims that the commissioner would be forced out of his job by Christmas.

It will also intensify an acrimonious race row, with Ghaffur likely to claim that being suspended from Scotland Yard is further evidence of his victimisation.

It is understood he will remain on his £180,000-a-year salary pending the outcome of the tribunal and the end of his contact next May. Meanwhile, the Met’s Professional Standards Committee has called for an investigation into whether Ghaffur breached disciplinary codes by staging a televised news conference to announce his race claim.

Although his departure will be met with some relief at Scotland Yard, where some in the senior ranks had said they felt they could no longer work closely with Ghaffur, it exposes one of the most senior roles in national policing.

As the Met’s “No 3” he attended Sir Ian’s “cabinet” meetings three times a week and was head of a unit which oversees security planning for the 2012 Olympics and the Met’s firearms teams. It is also embarrassing for Sir Ian — a champion of “diversity” — that there are now no ethnic minority officers above the rank of commander in the Met.