1. ITV Report

Cleveland Police to pay ‘substantial compensation’ to former officer after discrimination

Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Cleveland Police has apologised and agreed to pay ‘substantial compensation’ to a former officer who faced racial discrimination and victimisation.

Mark Dias served as a Cleveland Police officer between 2004 and 2013.

Asian officers were all put on one shift in Middlesbrough so you had 25% of one shift of Asians, and nobody else on any other shift, and it was all so we could be watched.

You had issues where Asian officers were given jobs which were impossible to complete and also if any Asian complained about anything, we became the enemy, we were the ones being targeted.

I went from being someone who was so proud to be a police officer looking forward to my career, to worrying about going to work every day.

It was the right thing to do to fight that and right the wrong and today I think we've done that.

– Mark Dias, former Cleveland Police officer

Following proceedings in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, Cleveland Police engaged in a mediation process and a settlement has now been reached with Mr Dias.

A joint statement between the two parties was released on Tuesday.

It reads:

  • Mark Dias was a police officer with Cleveland Police between January 2004 and January 2013.
  • In 2006, Mr Dias was the first and only Asian officer in Cleveland to have been selected for the High Potential Development Scheme. His performance was graded as excellent during his police career and he demonstrated the potential to achieve high rank.
  • Mr Dias stood up against institutional racism and wrongdoing within Cleveland Police. He endured negative responses and reactions to the concerns he raised. He was discriminated against and disadvantaged.
  • Further, Cleveland Police unlawfully used provisions in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 against Mr Dias to obtain his communications data. The Investigatory Powers Tribunal was scathing in their criticism of Cleveland Police for this.
  • Following proceedings in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, Mr Dias and Cleveland Police engaged in a mediation process to resolve Mr Dias’ proposed claims for damages (including claims for aggravated and exemplary damages) in the Employment Tribunal relating to discrimination, victimisation and whistleblowing dating back to 2010, and the impact this had on Mr Dias personally, and his proposed claim in the High Court.
  • In response to those claims, the parties have been able to achieve a positive outcome and Mr Dias will now receive substantial compensation. The terms of this settlement are confidential.
  • Mr Dias has now been vindicated.
  • The Chief Constable apologises to Mr Dias and his family for the hurt and distress caused, and for the damage to his reputation and career within the police service and the damage caused by the organisation not acting on his concerns.
  • The Chief Constable recognise the positive contribution Mr Dias made to policing during his time with the force. He is to be commended for his persistence in standing up for equality and integrity in policing.

In a statement, the Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger says steps have been taken to ensure the message that discriminatory behaviour is unacceptable is clear.

No member of police personnel should have to suffer discrimination. I have always been strongly committed to fighting discrimination and unfairness in all its forms and I have ensured that my office has worked closely alongside Cleveland Police to bring about the changes required to ensure that the Force does all it can to prevent any re-occurrence.

For change to happen it is important to recognise and admit mistakes where they have occurred in the past and arrive at just and fair settlements with individuals who have been treated unfairly.

It is also important, as the force has done in this case, to use alternative dispute resolution where possible and appropriate, rather than engage in lengthy, costly and adversarial litigation.

I hope the recognition by the force that what happened was wrong, along with the apology and settlement, allows some form of closure for Mr Dias and his family and enables them to move on with their lives. I have met with Mr Dias in the past to outline the steps we would be taking and I hope to meet up again in the future to update him further on the progress the force has made.

I recognise the important role Mr Dias has played in bringing about a change of culture within Cleveland Police. His stance in standing up for equality and integrity in policing has been vindicated. In my role as Police and Crime Commissioner I shall hold the Chief Constable accountable and will continue to support the driving forward of our programme of change and ensuring that the force is an employer of choice for all who wish to flourish in policing careers whether as officers, staff or volunteers.”

– Barry Coppinger, Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner

Mr Dias' compensation figure has not been revealed because of a confidentiality agreement.