One of Britain's senior-most Indian-origin female police officers is taking legal action against Scotland Yard over allegations of racial and gender discrimination within the UK's largest police force. Parm Sandhu, currently serving as Temporary Chief Superintendent with the Metropolitan Police, claims she was denied promotions and opportunities at work due to her race and gender. The first hearing in her case is set to take place at an employment tribunal next week.
“At this early stage, we are unable to comment further around defending the claim,” the Met Police said in a statement.
Sandhu is being backed by the Metropolitan Black Police Association, which says it is concerned about the lack of senior female ethnic minority officers. The 54-year-old officer took the legal step at the end of an internal Met Police investigation which exonerated her of gross misconduct last month.
The inquiry, launched in June 2018, focussed on whether Sandhu encouraged her colleagues to support her nomination for a Queen's Police Medal (QPM), which is awarded twice a year by Queen Elizabeth II as part of her honours' lists.
The medals are given to serving police officers in the UK in recognition of distinguished service or outstanding courage in the line of duty.
"A temporary chief superintendent currently attached to human resources was served with a gross misconduct notice on Wednesday 27 June and has been placed on restricted duties,” said a Met Police statement at the time.
The UK's National Police Chief Council guidelines say that "any person can nominate any other person for an honour".
However, as with other honours, people are not expected to nominate themselves and are not meant to contribute to or know about the process.
The internal Met Police investigation concluded last month that Sandhu had "no case to answer" and would face no further action, with restrictions on her duties at work being lifted.
Mick Creedon, the former chief constable of Derbyshire Police, who acted as her mentor and submitted a statement to the misconduct inquiry, has offered support for her legal battle, according to the BBC.
Sandhu, who joined the police service in 1989, rose through the ranks to become Borough Commander in Richmond-upon-Thames. She is one of the most senior ethnic minority female officers in the Met Police and in 2006 received an Asian Women of Achievement Award for her achievements in the police force.