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PC Angus Bowler wins racial discrimination case against Kent Police

By Aidan Barlow

A bobby on the frontline against terrorism and illegal immigration was subjected to racial discrimination at work, a tribunal has concluded.

Angus Bowler has been with Kent Police for 25 years and had been serving at the Channel Tunnel station at Coquelles in France where he had moved with his family.

He was working on operations including counter terrorism and curbing illegal immigration as part of the frontier branch.

The Eurotunnel terminal at Coquelles. Pic from Wiki Commons.
The Eurotunnel terminal at Coquelles. Pic from Wiki Commons.

Pc Bowler had hoped to advance his career with a promotion but was overlooked, and when he brought an internal grievance about alleged bullying and discrimination by colleagues the top brass failed to investigate properly.

His case was heard at the Employment Tribunal in Ashford where it was revealed that once he had raised his grievance, he came in for even more discriminatory treatment.

His markings in performance reviews were lowered and restrictions were placed upon his visits to his French counterparts, treatment which was not imposed on his white colleagues.

In the tribunal it was reported that senior officer Det Chief Insp Andy Somerville had been unable to understand what he called the “race relations act” in an apparent reference to the Equality Act 2010.

Instead the Det Chief Insp decided to refer to the Oxford English Dictionary to convince himself and other officers that the actions of Kent Police had not been racist.

PC Bowler told The Guardian newspaper that the treatment after his 25 years of service was “shocking and crushing” and had caused “turmoil and upheaval” for his family.

Kent Police
Kent Police

His lawyer Mohini Bharania, from Slater and Gordon, told Kent Online: “He felt he had been passed over for opportunities to support his promotion application and his grievance had not been dealt with terribly well.

“He is a commended officer, hardworking and diligent, so he found it very shocking to be treated less favourably because of the colour of his skin.

“I think the professionalism of the police at large is beyond doubt, but in any large organisation there can be problems, this case highlights there is still work to be done.”

Kent Police said it acknowledged the findings of the tribunal, and will await the date for the remedies hearing.

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