Manchester

White heterosexual male rejected by Cheshire Police given role

Cheshire Police sign
Image caption Cheshire Police has changed its recruitment process as a result of the case

A police force has given a job to a man who was initially not employed because he was white, heterosexual and male.

In February, a tribunal ruled Cheshire Police had discriminated against Matthew Furlong by rejecting him over his sexual orientation, race and sex.

The case was settled out of court and the 25-year-old will now begin police training in September.

Deputy Chief Constable Julie Cooke said it had led to the force looking "very carefully" at its recruitment practice.

She said Cheshire Police "accept the findings of the tribunal", adding: "It is important for us, and for candidates, that the process is fair and transparent and that all candidates are treated in a fair and consistent manner."

'Best of intentions'

The tribunal ruled Cheshire Police had used "positive action" to recruit people with different characteristics, but in a discriminatory way, and its initial claim that it had seen 127 candidates, including Mr Furlong, who were equally suitable was a "fallacy".

The 25-year-old's lawyer Jennifer Ainscough said the case was a reminder that positive action "must be applied correctly to ensure that employers still recruit candidates based on merit above all else".

DCC Cooke said the method had been used "with the best of intentions to attract candidates from diverse communities, and at no time were the standards of our recruits reduced".

A force spokesman said a revised recruitment process now only applies positive action where there is a tie-breaker situation and two candidates are of equal merit.

Cheshire Police was among a number of forces criticised in 2015 for having no black officers, but has since taken steps to improve employment opportunities for under-represented groups.

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