White detective sacked after referring to black fellow officer as ‘choc ice’

A top detective has been dismissed after he referred to a black officer as a "choc ice".

Ex-chief inspector Stewart Miller, who led high-profile murder and rape investigations, was sacked from Humberside Police for gross misconduct.

Simon Mallet, chairman of the disciplinary panel, said his remarks were "incredibly damaging" to the public's perception of the police, HullLive reports.

Giving the decision of instant dismissal at a disciplinary hearing in Goole, East Riding of Yorkshire, he said unconscious racism had been at play in the case.

But he said that this was still a "serious act of discrimination".

He said: "The use of language was very serious and the fact that a senior officer in the Humberside Force can use such language is incredibly damaging and undermines race relations."

The disgraced officer admitted remarking to a colleague: "[He] isn't fat or diabetic and has a good job so doesn't fit into the category, in fact, he is as close to white as he can be, in fact, he's a choc ice.

"[He] is probably more white and middle class than I am."

The statements were made to a detective inspector in relation to a black officer who had been raising concerns about his safety while working during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He made the racist comments in June, just months after receiving disciplinary action in relation to two cases of disreputable conduct.

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The officer of 21 years service said he only realised what "choc ice" meant after searching the term on Google.

He said he only made the comment, in his role as specialist command officer for coronavirus, to emphasise the BAME officer did not need to shield at home during the pandemic as he did not meet the "risk factors" for doing so.

Mr Miller argued the comments did not amount to gross misconduct, but the panel disagreed.

Chairman Mr Mallet said: "The comments were racist, offensive, inappropriate and breached standards and equality and diversity."

He said racism in the force is "wholly unacceptable", adding: "Public confidence and reputation of the force can only be obtained with immediate dismissal."

Detective Superintendent Matthew Baldwin, from the force's Professional Standards Department, said: "There is no place for this kind of disrespectful language or attitude in modern policing and we will not tolerate it from any member of staff.

"This case clearly demonstrates that our officers and staff will not accept this kind of language and will confront and deal with it if they hear it."

Mr Miller had said the comments were made in the "background of Covid" and used "by mistake, in error and ignorance and used in a clumsy way that was not meant to be racist".

He insisted it was a "momentary accidental mistake, over in seconds".

Even though the panel accepted that the officer was under "significant pressure" at work and balancing "numerous responsibilities", his excuses did not allow him to keep his job.

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