Tees

Bullied Cleveland Police officer awarded £500,000

Mark Dias
Image caption Mark Dias worked for Cleveland Police between 2004 and 2013

A former police officer who was bullied and discriminated against by his force has received "substantial compensation".

The BBC understands Mark Dias, who left Cleveland Police in 2013 after nine years, will receive £500,000.

Chief Constable Iain Spittal admitted Mr Dias "endured negative responses" after he challenged "institutional racism and wrongdoing" at the force.

He apologised for "the damage to his reputation and career".

A joint statement issued by both parties said Mr Spittal commended Mr Dias "for his persistence in standing up for equality and integrity in policing".

Mr Dias and another former officer, Steve Matthews, had already been awarded £3,000 after the force illegally monitored their phones, and those of two Northern Echo journalists and a solicitor.

Image caption Cleveland Police has been accused of racism in the past

The first and only Asian officer at the force to be selected for a fast-track development scheme, Mr Dias said he had been forced out of his job as acting inspector after he challenged alleged misconduct.

Asian officers were "seen to be corrupt" and branded "trouble-makers" if they complained, he said.

He said: "Racist conduct and culture just became quite normal and accepted."

'Squashed down'

In 2014, the force referred itself to the police watchdog over concerns about institutional racism.

Mr Spittal said: "Mark was one of a number of individuals ... that I think were grossly let down by leadership from the top of an organisation that stopped people standing up against bad decisions and bad behaviour, that squashed them down.

"I'm really disappointed that anyone who served in modern policing received that sort of treatment.

"But this isn't an organisation that is like that any more."

Cleveland's police and crime commissioner Barry Coppinger said: "No member of police personnel should have to suffer discrimination.

"Actions speak louder than words and the steps we have already taken during this year send out the clear message that discriminatory behaviour is totally unacceptable."

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