England

Nottinghamshire Police chief's husband in racism probe

Cutlers Hall, Sheffield Image copyright Google
Image caption The racial slur was allegedly used during a Christmas party held at the Cutler's Hall in Sheffield

The husband of a senior police officer responsible for tackling hate crimes has been questioned over allegations he racially abused a woman.

Ex-police officer Ian Barber allegedly used a racial slur to a waitress at a police Christmas party in Sheffield.

Mr Barber is married to Rachel Barber, deputy chief constable of Nottinghamshire Police and the force's lead on hate crimes.

South Yorkshire Police said an investigation was ongoing.

The incident is alleged to have happened at a Christmas party for senior officers from South Yorkshire Police at Cutler's Hall in Sheffield on 15 December.

Mr Barber and his wife are both former officers with the force.

BBC News has been told Mr Barber twice clashed with members of the waiting staff at the venue during the course of the evening.

He is alleged to have used a racially abusive comment during the course of the second argument.

A senior officer from South Yorkshire Police, Assistant Chief Constable Tim Forber, is said to have intervened and asked Mr Barber to leave.

Image caption Both Ian and Rachel Barber have served with South Yorkshire Police

In a statement, South Yorkshire Police said an investigation had been launched and "inquiries remain ongoing".

The force added: "A member of staff reported they were subject to a racially abusive comment, as soon as this was highlighted to those at the event, a man, who was a guest at the event and is not a SYP employee, was asked to leave immediately.

"A man has since voluntarily attended a police station in relation to this matter."

Nottinghamshire Police said it would be "inappropriate for us to comment" as there was a live police investigation under way.

The venue also declined to comment.

BBC News has not been able to contact either Mr or Mrs Barber for comment as they are understood to be on holiday.

Force behind hate crime pilot

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Intimidating behaviour and unwanted sexual advances are also seen as misogyny hate crime

Rachel Barber is Nottinghamshire Police's strategic lead for hate crime.

She said, in 2016, "behaviour which intimidates, threatens, humiliates or targets women is completely unacceptable".

She added that the force would "seek prosecutions where these are appropriate".

Nottinghamshire Police expanded its hate crime categories to include misogynistic incidents that year and have piloted it since.

It means abuse or harassment which might not be a crime can be reported to and investigated by the police, and support for the victim put in place.

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