English Romany police officer brings about police review, after racism complaint.
PC Jim Davies’ complaint against Thames Valley Police has led one of Britain’s largest forces to establish a formal review into how their officers engage with Roma travelling communities.
PC Davies claimed that during his career, he routinely heard colleagues making abusive stereotypical comments about Roma and Irish Travellers and also, raised concerns about wider organisational practices within Thames Valley Police towards these communities.
One of the legal issues arising from the case was the meaning of the word ‘Traveller’. PC Davies refers to himself as an ‘English Traveller’, but a key issue under scrutiny was whether the term ‘Traveller’, when used by Thames Valley Police, referred to a racial group for the purpose of Section 9 of the Equality Act 2010.
During the proceedings, PC Davies argued that commonly the term Travellers is understood to refer to a group consisting exclusively of Irish and Romany Travellers – two similar distinct ‘racial groups’ rather than nomadic people generally
While the case was ongoing, PC Davies set up Britain’s first Gypsy Roma Traveller Police Association (GRTPA) which he hopes will foster better relationships between the police and members of the Traveller communities, as well as challenging the negative stereotyping. The Association is a support network for Police personnel who are from a Gypsy, Romany background.
PC Davies said “Through the association we aim to unite and support all police officers and staff who are from a Gypsy/Roma background. We will do this by promoting equality and fairness and by providing a support forum where members can share and discuss the issues which affect their working life.”
Rhydian Reeves from Pattinson & Brewer who represented PC Davies commented too “As a result of his own experiences, Jim wanted to bring about change and make things better for his colleagues. Thames Valley Police are taking positive action with the announcement of an independent review, which is very welcome”
An ‘out of court’ settlement was reached with PC Davies.