Return of the psychic cop

We still don’t know whether that police trainer was fired for his beliefs or what he did about them or indeed some other reason, such as getting a hard-on while being frisked during a training exercise. ‘”We welcome all races and religions,” a police spokesman said’ – somewhat idiotically, since beliefs aren’t inherently part of ‘races’ while they are inherently part of religions, and some beliefs could well be incompatible with being a good cop or cop trainer.

Assistant Chief Officer Julia Rogers said: “GMP notes and fully supports the judge’s ruling. This matter has never been about Mr Power’s beliefs and we vehemently deny any claim he was discriminated against on those or any other grounds. GMP welcomes all races and religions and employs and actively recruits people with diverse beliefs and from many different ethnic backgrounds.” In an earlier hearing, the employment tribunal said his psychic beliefs fell under the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003.

The not quite explicit assumption seems to be that all beliefs should be protected, in other words that no belief should ever be a reason to fire someone. But that’s crazy. Some beliefs are incompatible with some jobs – obviously. If UK law gives blanket employment immunity to all beliefs, then it’s creating a hornets’ nest.

Struck by a novel and original idea, our commentator decides to look up said Regulations – and finds that they do in fact include an exemption, where, for one, ‘being of a particular religion or belief is a genuine and determining occupational requirement.’ Look in Part II, under ‘Exception for genuine occupational requirement.’ So in fact an employer can fire an employee who has a belief that would interfere with doing the job properly. That would, surely, apply to a police trainer whose belief about psychic powers got out of his head and into his police training. So it’s all a fuss about nothing – unless, I suppose, all the employment tribunals are staffed by maniacs. Which is always possible, especially if their beliefs are protected under – oh never mind.

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