Worker Brings Race Claim Against Police Authority
A police authority was accused today of racially discriminating against a worker by launching an investigation into whether bugging devices had been planted in the office during a security sweep he conducted.
Terry Ampofo, who still works for the Metropolitan Police Authority, oversaw a search of the Internal Audit Directorate which contains covert information about national security and sensitive political issues, an employment tribunal was told.
Head of department Peter Tickner later asked the authority's professional standards and special operations bodies to investigate, as he did not believe Mr Ampofo had been given authorisation to conduct the sweep at the Dean Farrar Street building, in Westminster, central London, it was said.
“I don't need authority,” the 46-year-old from Stratford, east London said.
“I was responsible for building security... I (had) security sweep duties.
“Mr Tickner was motivated... to harass and bully me on the grounds of race,” the head of administration added.
“His actions in referring my sweeping exercise to (the MPA body) was clearly hostile, degrading, humiliating, offensive.”
Mr Ampofo, who has worked for the authority for three and a half years, mentioned his intention to conduct the search for hidden cameras and listening devices to one member of staff “out of respect”, the Croydon hearing was told.
When Mr Tickner asked her if she had given authorisation for an “electronic sweep” to take place, she said no, so he took the matter further, it was said.
Mr Ampofo claims the sweep he organised in January 2004 was a “security sweep” and there may have been confusion over the terminology.
He said he didn't tell Mr Tickner or any members of the senior management team what his plan was, as it could have jeopardised the operation.
“Mr Tickner was concerned whether it was a legitimate sweep or whether the cover of a blanket sweep (was used) to plant or remove a device,” his counsel, Declan O'Dempsey said.
“His actions are causing me sleepness nights,” Mr Ampofo, who is originally from Ghana, added.
“His actions are robbing me of my sanity. I walk into the office fearfully dreading what action he is going to take against me. No white member of staff would be expected to go through this.”
The MPA and Mr Tickner deny claims of racial discrimination and harassment.