"the consequence of excluding and dehumanising SA"
A West Yorkshire police officer has been convicted of gross misconduct after he imitated the Indian accent of a woman reporting a hate crime.
Former PC Patrick Harrison, who resigned before the judgement, had “mimicked” the caller’s Indian accent over the phone.
However, he did not realise she was still on the line.
The woman, named only as SA, subsequently reported PC Harrison to the Islamophobia monitoring group Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks).
A police misconduct panel ruled that PC Harrison’s discriminatory actions “de-humanised” the caller and were enough to dismiss him from the force had he not already resigned.
The panel heard that SA had called the police to report a “hate-related assault” in November 2022.
PC Harrison admitted his “unacceptable and inexcusable” behaviour and said it breached the professional conduct standards, amounting to gross misconduct.
Panel chair Katherine Wood said:
“We accept that the former Officer did not know that SA could hear what he was saying, it was therefore not targeted.
“We find that had he thought about it, he could reasonably have foreseen the risk of harm from his actions.
“It was conscious discrimination, which had the consequence of excluding and dehumanising SA, diminishing her and the complaint that she was making.”
The panel heard the ex-police officer had offered to meet the woman to apologise in person.
However, his actions had caused “psychological distress” to SA and had resulted in her “loss of trust and confidence” in the police.
Miss Wood concluded that PC Harrison had racially discriminated against the caller.
She added: “Racism and Islamophobia within the police are issues of significant national concern.
“Had the former officer not already tendered his resignation, [the panel] would have recommended his immediate dismissal from the service.
“The behaviour of the former officer is so serious and the impact that it has had on SA and the confidence of the public as a whole is such that no lesser sanction would be justified.
“We have found that former PC Harrison has subjected SA to discriminatory behaviour based on her race.
“It must follow that former PC Harrison has engaged in behaviour which breaches the standard of professional behaviour relating to Authority, Respect and Courtesy and Equality and Diversity.
“We are satisfied that [his actions] amount to gross misconduct.
“The panel has no doubt that the Officer has suffered a significant degree of shame, regret and remorse for his actions and the consequences.”