Milton Keynes policeman received £200,000 after racial discrimination “cheats” him out of ambition to become a force’s first Indian inspector


A retired police officer who claimed he was “cheated “ out of his ambitions due to racial discrimination has been awarded more than £200,000 in compensation.

Sgt Harmit Bahra, 48, claimed he was victimised by bosses at Bedfordshire Police as a result of his ethnicity.

The Indian officer told an employment tribunal he was passed over for promotion during his stint at the force between 2007 and 2010.

Mr Bahra, from Miton Keynes, retired from the police service in June and said he was “cheated” out of his ambitions.

And now he has been awarded £209,188 in compensation from the tribunal in London last week.

Speaking after the hearing, he said: “I was discriminated against and victimised, cheated out of promotion, cheated out of my ambition to be the first Indian inspector and superintendent in Bedfordshire policing history.

“They haven’t just ruined the last seven years of my career, they have ruined the last 31 years of my life.”

Chief Constable Colette Paul offered “sincerest apologies” to Mr Bahra and his family for the “difficult and stressful time”.

She said: “The force has learnt a great deal from this historical case.

“We are working hard to ensure that all lessons are being fully captured and considered as part of our continuous improvement work which will include consultation with key partners including the Police Federation and the Black Police Association.”

Ms Paul said the force was taking advice on whether there were any disciplinary matters arising from the case.

Mr Bahra, who worked for Bedfordshire Police for 31 years, first encountered racial discrimination after taking his inspector’s exam and interview board in 2006.

The tribunal heard that he passed the tests and in fact came second in terms of ability but was still no promoted.

That was despite all seven of the other officers who had passed that year being handed temporary inspector roles.

It was also heard how senior figures in the police allowed officers to submit false claims for overtime while seeking to challenge legitimate claims made by Mr Bahra.

Mr Bahra was consequently made subject to misconduct proceedings which lasted for three years, finally being heard in 2010.

Altogether he initially faced 16 charges, 15 of these were later dropped and ultimately he was only fined 13 days’ pay in total.

It was following this that Mr Bahra lodged a claim with the employment tribunal in 2012 after several other attempts he had made at filing allegations of discrimination internally failed to be investigated.

Following a five week hearing in April, on July 31 the tribunal ruled that Mr Bahra was discriminated against on grounds of his race.

He was awarded #179,188.15 for loss of earnings due to the force overlooking him for promotion and £30,000 for injury to feelings.