CROYDON'S new police chief helped block an officer's attempt to leave the unit where she was being discriminated against because she was a black woman, a tribunal has found. Chief Superintendent Andy Tarrant, due to start his new role on Monday, previously commanded the elite Diplomatic Protection Group (DPG), the unit at the centre of the 'plebgate' row. PC Carol Howard was serving with the DPG when she was "singled out and targeted" by her superior, acting Inspector Dave Kelly, an employment tribunal has ruled. Her lawyer, Kiran Daurka, from Slater & Gordon, said PC Howard had been "subjected to discriminatory treatment because she is black and she is a woman". The panel's report, published today, shows Chief Supt Tarrant recommended PC Howard, from Purley, to be interviewed by the Evening Standard for an article about security at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Insp Kelly approached Chief Supt Tarrant and told him she was not a "good advert" for the unit. He thought PC Howard was "dishonest", challenged her commitment in front of colleagues and her "every absence" was assumed not to be genuine. When PC Howard later approached Chief Supt Tarrant to raise concerns about Insp Kelly's conduct he initially refused to meet her because she was subject to an ongoing disciplinary procedure, a decision the tribunal questioned. When they did meet a month later, PC Howard told Chief Supt Tarrant she was thinking of leaving the Met. He tried to dissuade her, saying she was a good role model for BME officers,and indicated there was armed response role available in CO19 which he was prepared to release her for. Normally officers are expected to work in a particular command for at least two years before being considered for transfer. However, ten days later Chief Supt Tarrant changed his mind about helping PC Howard find a new position. He approached Insp Kelly, who was refusing to support the switch. The tribunal said: "He told Insp Kelly he had taken advice from someone in HR who had recommended the claimant's application should not be submitted on the basis that she did not have two years' tenure, and he suggested to Insp Kelly that should be the reason for rejecting her application." The panel added: "Chief Supt Tarrant's refusal to release the claimant from tenure was connected to acting Inspector Kelly's decision not to support her application. "Chief Supt Tarrant supported Insp Kelly by providing him with a more watertight reason for the application not being progressed." The tribunal found Chief Supt Tarrant was not prepared to concede any shortcomings on the part of Insp Kelly, despite hearing evidence from officers who described him as a "bully", "overbearing", "intrusive" and "unreasonable". He also subjected PC Howard to "a course of conduct which was detrimental to her", the panel said. They rejected Chief Supt Tarrant's claims that he had not indicated he would release PC Howard to CO19. "It appeared to us from subsequent communication that he did do so", the tribunal said.
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