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Police officer who was sacked for using racial slurs in Asian takeaway to be given job back despite police protest

PC Katie Barratt has had her sacking overruled meaning she can now work again as a police officer. Credit: NCJMedia Syndication

A police officer who was sacked for a racist outburst at an Asian takeaway has been given her job back.

PC Katie Barratt was dismissed for making racist slurs at the takeaway after a night of drinking at a Northumbria Police Christmas party.

On Monday a panel deemed her sacking to be "unreasonable" and overruled it, allowing Ms Barratt to go back to working as a police officer and also receive £15,000 in back pay.

Northumbria Police had fought to block her return, claiming it could "seriously damage" the police's reputation.

The force's barrister, Steven Reid, said: "Sadly it confirms a stereotype that is unfortunately held in some communities about the police."

Ms Barratt's own barrister, Guy Ladenburg, admitted the slurs she used were an "abomination".

She and her colleagues were in the Spice of Punjab asian takeaway waiting on their meals when Ms Barratt began using the slurs.

She said: "I wish these f****** p**** would hurry up with my pizza."

It was also claimed she had called the takeaway staff "n*****s", something she has never denied.

It was heard how staff had been buying PC Barratt drinks all night at the 2017 Christmas "jolly" but that, since the incident, she hadn't "touched a drop of drink" since, according to her barrister.

PC Barratt will now receive £15,000 in back pay after the ruling. Credit: NCJMedia Syndication

Mr Ladenburg said the incident was a one-off for which she should be given a second chance rather than the "nuclear option" of dismissal.

However Steven Reid, on behalf of the police, said that the force felt racism from an officer - whether on or off-duty - was completely unacceptable.

He said: "The appellant didn't go out that night to deliberately racially abuse members of the public. But the fact remains she did."

PC Barratt acknowledged that it was fortunate only her colleagues heard her use of the racial slurs.

The three-person panel downgraded her punishment to a final warning after two hours of deliberations. The panel's chair, Doiran Lovell-Park, said it "roundly condemned" her comments but then wished her luck with resuming her career.

Detective superintendent Sav Patsalos, head of Northumbria Police's professional standards department, said: "We acknowledge the decision of the independent panel and will now take some time to review its findings.

"It is important to recognise that the decision to dismiss PC Barratt was taken by an independent panel and it was within the officer's rights to appeal this decision.

A second independent panel has today overturned the decision to dismiss the officer but they agreed the language she used was unacceptable and agreed with the finding of gross misconduct.

“This was recognised by a colleague who rightly came forward to report the comments and this reflects the culture within the Force where people have the confidence to speak up and challenge this kind of behaviour.

“We expect officers and staff to maintain the highest levels of professionalism at all times and I want to assure the public that we are committed to taking positive action when individuals fall below the expected standards of behaviour.

– Detective Superintendent Sav Patsalos, Northumbria Police

Ms Barratt and her mother wept as she was given the verdict which will enable her to work again as a police officer.