Cop’s turban a hairy issue

Will Astbury

A Sikh cop that is suing Greater Manchester Police gets a ‘sorry’ from a complaint official.

Gurmeal Singh, 31, accused his employers of discrimination on race and religious grounds. He said he was forced to take off his turban during riot training because officers wanted him to wear a helmet.

The Asian News reported that at Mr Singh’s employment tribunal Roz Caplan, formerly of the GMP’s equalities unit, said that the Sikh cop’s case could have been dealt with better and offered her apologies directly to Singh.

Mr Singh, who joined the force six years ago, said he felt humiliated at being made to remove his turban and like he had been made to betray his oaths to Sikhism.

He left work sick in 2008 because of fears he may be made to remove his turban again for another training session. Mr Singh said he was also concerned that he may be made to wear his turban on top of his helmet as depicted in the BBC’s ‘Only Fools and Horses’.

Ms Caplan, who left GMP in 2008, admitted seeing Mr Singh in 2007 when the cop’s original complaints were voiced. She also conceded that the complaints were not passed to the proper authorities meaning that Singh was still called up for the training course.

Mr Singh, who is by supported the British Sikh Police Association, is now seeking £200,000 compensation.

The turban issue for Sikh officers is a problem said Ms Caplan. She claimed that she had made recommendations on the issue to the chief constable but they were not adopted.

Sikh soldiers were famous for refusing to wear helmets in WW1 and WW2, preferring to fight in their turbans.

There have been cries from some groups for new bulletproof turbans to be developed.

Keep checking Manchester Mouth for updates on this story.

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