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Allegations that diversity boss took brothel worker to police conferences; RACISM CLAIMS CONSIDERED BY EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL.


A BROTHEL worker was wined and dined at South Wales Police parties, we can reveal.

Michelle Dasic, who later appeared in court and was fined for controlling prostitutes at a Cardiff "massage parlour", was taken as a guest to events including the annual Black Police Association ball and a conference on police diversity at Cardiff's Hilton Hotel in September 2003.

She had been a guest of South Wales Police's then head of diversity Samuel Johnson, who told investigators he was unaware of her involvement in the sex industry.

Just weeks after attending a police event, Ms Dasic was arrested as part of Operation Cabaret, which was investigating "people-trafficking and prostitution" at the parlour where she worked in Whitchurch, Cardiff.

The revelations have come to light following an employment tribunal at which Mr Johnson claimed that South Wales Police Authority had racially discriminated against him. In its 68-page judgement, the tribunal detailed a string of allegations made against Mr Johnson during his time with the police force, which he claimed were investigated differently because of his race.

Most of Mr Johnson's claims were dismissed for a number of reasons, although the tribunal found that to "a limited extent" he had been racially discriminated against.

The allegations included the story of Mr Johnson's relationship with Miss Dasic.

A year after she attended the police event at the Hilton Hotel with Mr Johnson, Ms Dasic told detectives that she, Mr Johnson and another police officer called PC Tony Smikle had been in a room at the hotel with two prostitutes who were openly using cocaine.

Mr Johnson denied the claim and it was subsequently dismissed by a disciplinary panel in 2005.

However, the tribunal ruled the police's investigation into Ms Dasic's allegations was discriminatory.

Investigators didn't interview any delegates from the conference where the alleged incident took place, or PC Smikle.

The judgement reads: "There was no reasonable basis for not interviewing Mr Smikle (who is black).

"We draw the inference that the investigating team considered that they were less likely to hear the truth from a black individual.

"This part of the investigation was carried out in that way because of the claimant's race and the stereotypical views taken of the claimant."

Following Miss Dasic's arrest, Mr Johnson was interviewed and said he had no knowledge of her involvement in the sex trade. He said he "cut ties" with her after her arrest.

Among the other allegations against Mr Johnson were claims made by the mother of his ex-partner Ruth Duffy, with whom he was in a dispute over access to their son.

According to the judgement, it was alleged that Mr Johnson was violent to Ms Duffy, created a false passport for himself and a fake identity for his son, drove police cars while drunk and smoked cannabis.

Most of the allegations were dismissed after a covert investigation, Operation Yorkshire, was launched by professional standards and no charges were ever pressed against him.

However, Mr Johnson claimed Operation Yorkshire was conducted in a discriminatory way, claiming investigators believed he was likely to be involved in drugs and crime because he had dreadlocks.

But the tribunal ruled an investigation into a non-black employee would have been carried out in a similar way.

The judgement also detailed the difficult relationship between Mr Johnson and two colleagues in the diversity unit, Suzanne Gravette and Suzanne Sweeney.

The tribunal rejected claims by Ms Sweeney that Mr Johnson had "bullied" her and found the pair deliberately tried to undermine Mr Johnson.

In 2005, Mr Johnson was suspended following further allegations that he had lied about his qualifications. He was also accused of using a police phone for private calls and was sacked in October. He lost a subsequent appeal and did not claim unfair dismissal.

The tribunal found that Mr Johnson, who had joined South Wales Police as head of diversity in January 2003, had been discriminated against on the grounds of race but dismissed his claim that he had been victimised.

It said: "The matter will now be sent down for a hearing to consider the issue of remedy."

Gareth Madge, director of legal services for South Wales Police, said the force was considering the judgement. He said: "The judgement is lengthy and detailed and, having fully considered the same, we have applied to the Employment Tribunal for a review of the judgement. Consequently we are not in a position to comment further at this stage".


Michelle Dasic Samuel Johnson
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 24, 2011
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