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Gurmeal Singh, a police constable
  • A sikh policeman ordered to remove his turban by his bosses won £10,000 in compensation yesterday.
  • He was told to replace his religious headwear with a helmet for riot training


UK NRI Sikh policeman awarded 10,000 pounds in turban case

London, Oct. 03, 2009

A Sikh policeman has been awarded 10,000 pounds by a British tribunal after he complained his religious sentiments were hurt by an order to remove his turban during riot-training.

Gurmeal Singh, a police constable in the force serving Greater Manchester in northwest England, was awarded the compensation by an employment tribunal after a three-week hearing Friday.

Singh, who joined Greater Manchester Police (GMP) in 2004, sued the force, alleging that a sergeant told him during a meeting to discuss the riot training: "Can you not take that thing off ? this is what you signed up for."

He was also asked whether he could modify his turban.

Singh, 31, said he suffered panic attacks, stress and palpitations and was off sick over the issue during the long-running dispute.

The tribunal rejected most of his allegations but upheld a claim of indirect racial and religious discrimination, after he was included on a group email Feb 8 last year, telling officers that riot training was mandatory and he would therefore have to remove his turban.

Two months later he had an "unpleasant" meeting with his sergeant and went off sick the next day - the panel ruled the meeting amounted to harassment.

After the ruling Singh, who is still employed by GMP on 'recuperative duties', said: "I'm looking to return to work and see how GMP accommodate me."

Julia Rogers, GMP's assistant chief officer, said: "We felt we acted in the officer's best interests, but accept the findings from this tribunal and have already updated the policies this relates to."

She said the force would be working with the newly formed British Police Sikh Association in an effort to resolve any ongoing issues. (IANS)






Gurmeal Singh


By Surinder Verma

  • Gurmeal Singh, 31, says he was 'deeply offended' after the incident, which is alleged to have happened on a training course in front of fellow officers.
  • He joined the police in 2003 and was not allowed to ride a cycle, despite telling officials he would sign a disclaimer clearing them of any blame in the event of an accident.
  • He was baptised at the age of 15 AND SINCE wearing a turban. He said, "I was deeply offended and humiliated and felt as though I had betrayed the oaths I had made when I was 15."
  • He told the tribunal he 'saw no other option' to remove his turban and wear the helmet.
  • He claimed things came to a head in 2006 at a riot training session at Openshaw police station, when a senior trainer 'patronised him' when he raised his concerns about putting on a helmet
  • He claims that a senior officer mistook him for a Muslim.
  • He said that he was told to make his own 'royal insignia' for his turban and shouted at when he refused to go on training exercises that included wearing a helmet. As a result, he says, he has been left suffering panic attacks and high blood pressure and is now contemplating resigning.