A FIREARMS officer has been awarded £457,664 in damages after winning a race discrimination tribunal against Cleveland Police.

Nadeem Saddique, a former VIP protection officer who had guarded George Bush, Tony Blair and members of the Royal Family, was subject to race discrimination and victimisation from senior officers and colleagues, the tribunal ruled last year.

A remedy hearing has been held in Teesside over the last two days to decide how much compensation PC Saddique should receive.

His barrister Joanne Woodward argued for compensation of more than £628,000 in both past and present financial losses and in damages, arguing the case was one of the worst to come before the court, in part due to the conduct of Cleveland Police after PC Saddique made his initial complaints to superiors.

She said: “There was a professional standards old guard who didn’t think race discrimination was important, and branded all complainants as liars, money grabbers or deluded.

“It is difficult to see how much more aggravating the respondent’s conduct could have been following the acts of discrimination .”

But Richard Oulton, for Cleveland Police, said the force had taken on board the tribunal’s findings and were making efforts to change things.

He said: “There was a sincere and full and early apology.

“It is absolutely clear from the evidence that there have been very comprehensive efforts made to get things back on track through inequality, diversity and human rights training for all staff.

“The respondent has clearly taken the matter to heart and put in place a comprehensive programme.”

Doctors ruled PC Saddique was unable to return to work within the police and is seeking early ill health retirement.

Since being signed off work in 2014, he had lost more than two stones in weight, was suffering from severe insomnia and had trouble eating, the tribunal heard.

After the hearing, PC Saddique said: “This has been a lengthy and extremely difficult process, which has taken a serious toll on my health and my family.

“I never wanted it to go as far as a tribunal, but after experiencing problems with discrimination for a number of years within the force and exhausting all avenues internally without success, I had to do something.”

He told The Northern Echo he thought the verdict was fair and added: “The vast majority of the officers at Cleveland are honest, hard working and professional. I wish them all the best for the future and I am grateful for their support.”

Mr Saddique’s solicitor Clare Armstrong, from Slater and Gordon, said: “This outcome reflects the seriousness of the offences and the impact it has had on PC Saddique and his career.

“PC Saddique was a dedicated police officer in the force but he was subjected to terrible treatment for years and his career derailed simply because of the colour of his skin. It is very clear that the force needs to take steps in order to give the public confidence this will not happen again.”

A Cleveland Police spokesperson said: “We are aware of the outcome of the remedy hearing and following the judgement apologised to Mr Saddique for the treatment he received as an employee of Cleveland Police.

“We have reviewed many of our policies as a result of this case and as part of our Everyone Matters project have delivered training sessions on equality, diversity and human rights and cultural awareness to the wider organisation.

“We are saddened that Mr Saddique is unable to progress his career as a police officer and wish him well for the future.”

In his tribunal PC Saddique, from Ingleby Barwick, near Stockton, said he was unfairly treated when he was removed from his duties as a VIP close protection officer, while an allegation an armed officer had an English Defence League sticker on his gun holster was never investigated.