Police officer found guilty of racial remark about Muslim colleague

A policeman has been found guilty after trial of making an anti-Muslim remark to a fellow officer at a Christmas night out in Kincardine.

Gavin Ross (43), of Kirkwood Place, Coatbridge, who was a police sergeant in probation training at Tulliallan police college, Kincardine, told Dunfermline Sheriff Court that he “jokingly” called Sergeant Amar Shakoor “a f****** amusing bastard” at the meal, which was attended by 15 officers.

Ross was found guilty after trial that on December 10, at The Unicorn restaurant in Kincardine, he acted in a racially aggravated manner towards Mr Shakoor (44) by using the word “Muslim” and not “amusing” in that sentence.

Ross denied the charge and said he would not do such a thing as he had received “homophobic” abuse since the age of 14.

Mr Shakoor contacted the treasurer of the Scottish Police Muslim Association. He later gave a statement to a colleague and said he wanted the matter to be dealt with through the right procedures and wanted Ross to apologise to him personally. He also said Lesley Docherty had told him she could not believe what Ross had said.

PC Docherty told depute fiscal Benson that she was speaking to another officer when there was a lull in the conversation and she heard Ross make the remark. “After it, Gavin said, ‘Oh, you know I’m only joking,’ ” she said. “When I heard the comment I kind of gasped and my hands came up to my mouth.”

Sheriff Daniel Kelly said, “I am satisfied that the evidence given by Mr Shakoor and Ms Docherty was very precise. Mr Shakoor said that he became angry after the remark and that he did not eat his desert. Having looked at all the evidence closely I am prepared to accept the evidence given by Mr Shakoor and Ms Docherty.”

Ross was fined £500. Afterwards he said he did not wish to comment.

A spokesman for Strathclyde Police said, “Following the guilty verdict at Dunfermline Sheriff Court today, we can confirm that a report will be prepared for the Deputy Chief Constable for his consideration.”

Meanwhile, a Scottish Police Muslim Association spokesman said they were “happy with the result and the way it was promptly dealt with,” and a spokesman for the Scottish Police Training College said there was “no place here for anyone who behaves in a racist or bigoted fashion.”

The Courier, 27 August 2010