HC Deb 14 March 2001 vol 364 cc649-50W
Mr. Peter Bottomley

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) if the Royal Parks police will introduce a grievance procedure similar to that of the Metropolitan police service; [153468]

(2) if he will make a statement on the number of initiatives on equal opportunities, community and race relations awareness and training in the Royal Parks police in the last three years; [153469]

(3) how many officers and staff there are in the Royal Parks police, broken down by sex and ethnicity; [153466]

(4) how many outstanding employment tribunal claims from officers and staff of the Royal Parks police there are, indicating which will be heard more than a year after submission of the claims; [153467]

(5) when and for what reason there was a change in the Chief Officer of the Royal Parks police; and if he will make a statement; [153465]

(6) what briefing he has received from the Royal Parks police on the employment situation of Pepe Kaur; and if he will make a statement. [153470]

Mr. Alan Howarth

Responsibility for the subject of these questions has been delegated to the Royal Parks Agency under its Chief Executive, William Weston. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from William Weston to Mr. Peter Bottomley, dated 14 March 2001: I have been asked by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to reply to your six Parliamentary Questions about the Royal Parks Constabulary (RPC) because this is an operational matter for which the Agency is responsible. A review of the RPC by former Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Anthony Speed recommended that the senior management of the Force should be restructured and its Chief Officer should be a Superintendent. The then Chief Officer who was a Commander, was made redundant in February. An Acting Chief Officer has been appointed. All probationer officers have equal opportunities training as part of their probationer training. Established RPC officers are required to attend mandatory training in equal opportunities. A course was run in 1997/98 for all officers, which ensured compliance with National Police Training. Officers also attend a two-day legislation refresher course every year, which takes account of community race relations and equal opportunities issues. Over the past three years this has included training on the race relations implications of Stop and Search and guidance on the definition of a racist incident. This year's legislation refresher course (January-April 2001) includes community race relations awareness. A community and race relations/diversity programme is currently being developed for delivery in 2001/2. Gay liaison training has been given to appointed gay liaison officers. There is one outstanding employment tribunal claim from a police officer. The claim was made to the Employment Tribunal on 15 September 2000. The hearing is scheduled for 24 September 2001. There are 157 officers in the Constabulary. 109 are male and of those, 6 are from ethnic minorities. Of the 48 female officers, 3 are from ethnic minorities. I informed Ministers that Pepe Kaur, a probationer WPC, had brought a claim to the Employment Tribunal alleging racial discrimination against the Agency and that she has been absent on sick leave since last July. The Royal Parks Agency is currently updating its grievance procedure and has sought advice from the Metropolitan Police Service on aspects relating to the Constabulary.