Frodsham man wins legal battle for right to be a police officer

A FRODSHAM man who was turned down when he applied to join Cheshire Police will now be able to join the force as a student police officer.
An agreement has been reached between lawyers representing Matthew Furlong and the police.and the 25-year-old will achieve his dream of joining the force in September.
Earlier this year, Mr Furlong – whose father is a detective inspector with Cheshire Police – took a claim of discrimination to an employment tribunal, under Section 13 of the Equality Act 2010 on the grounds he had been discriminated against because he was a white, heterosexual male without disability. The tribunal ruled in his favour.
It is believed to have been the first case of its kind.
Jennifer Ainscough, an employment lawyer at Slater and Gordon who represented Mr Furlong, said: “We are pleased to confirm that settlement terms have been agreed with Cheshire Constabulary and as of September 14, Matthew will be starting work as a student police officer with the force.
“Positive action is an incredibly important tool to aid diversity in the workforce but this case is a reminder that it must be applied correctly to ensure that employers still recruit candidates based on merit above all else.
“Matthew was an exceptional candidate who I am sure will be an exceptional police officer and we wish him every success in his future career.”
Cheshire Constabulary said it had fully reviewed its Police Constable recruitment process following the ruling.
The case related to the 2017/18 police officer recruitment process and the Constabulary’s interpretation of the Equality Act 2010. It was in this particular recruitment process that, for the first time, measures were applied to the final stages of the process under section 159 (positive action in recruitment), with the interview process leading to a pass/fail outcome at interview rather than the scoring mechanism previously used.
The force treated all candidates who passed the interview process (the final stage of a multi-staged recruitment process) of equal merit. In this case the intake was oversubscribed, and a number of criteria were applied. Candidates who met one or more of these criteria were offered places first.
Deputy Chief Constable, Julie Cooke said: “We have reflected on our interpretation of the Act and thoroughly reviewed our practices to ensure that we comply with it.
“We accept the findings of the tribunal and have looked very carefully at our entire recruitment practice. Action has been taken to change some of our processes and take account of the hearing’s result. It is important for us, and for candidates, that the recruitment process is fair and transparent and that all candidates are treated in a fair and consistent manner.
“However, I would like to stress that these processes were put in place with the best of intentions to attract candidates from diverse communities, and at no time were the standards of our recruits reduced.”
The interview process now follows the College of Policing scoring guidelines and is based on the four values of the Competency and Values Framework (CVF) and is no longer based on a pass or fail.
The Constabulary’s recruitment process now applies positive action where there is a tie-breaker situation and two candidates are of equal merit and score the same at interview. This is not applied in volume recruitment processes.
Matthew has since accepted an offer of a job with the Constabulary and will be joining the organisation as a student officer in September.
DCC Cooke added: “We have a public-sector equality duty to take action to address under-representation, which continues to be a challenge in Cheshire. We will take positive action to achieve a workforce that truly represents our communities in accordance with the Equality Act.”

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