A senior police official is suing the home secretary in a discrimination row – claiming he is paid less than a black female colleague because he is a white man.
Matt Parr, the £140,000 a year official and one of the five HM Inspectors of Constabulary who oversee the UK’s police forces, says his annual salary is lower than a black female inspector who does the same job as him.
He is arguing that the discrepancy between his wage and the £185,000 salary of Wendy Williams, the last inspector appointed before him, is due to gender and race.
However, home secretary Priti Patel insists that his lower wage is due to a Home Office drive to reduce senior staff salaries amongst cutbacks.
The case has gone to an employment tribunal, but was passed to a more senior judge after Ms Patel attempted to hide details of pay negotiations with Ms Williams from the public.
Lawyers for Ms Patel said details of the negotiations were private and confidential and revealing them in open court would violate Ms Williams’ human right to privacy.
However, Mr Justice Griffiths rejected the argument and instead ordered the entire case to be heard in public and the final judgment published in full.
Setting out Mr Parr’s claim, the judge explained: ‘In 2018, (Mr Parr) began proceedings in the Employment Tribunal, claiming equal pay and, further or alternatively, alleging race and sex discrimination.’
He added that ‘the principle of open justice trumped any right to confidentiality which Ms Williams had in relation to her pay negotiations.’
According to the Home Office, Mr Parr, a former Royal Navy rear admiral, was appointed in 2016 to oversee the National Crime Agency, London’s Metropolitan Police and other organisations.
The previously appointed inspector was former chief crown prosecutor, Wendy Williams, in 2015, who is currently earning £185,000-a-year, according to the official government website.
The case will return to the employment tribunal for Mr Parr’s pay claim to be heard in full.