20 October 2005

20 October 2005

I’ll put it behind me

A BLACK officer who was offended by a warrant card with an ape on it wants to "put matters behind" him and get on with his career.

Detective Sergeant Jimi Tele was distressed when the warrant card featuring a gorilla's head was placed on the notice board in front of his desk by colleagues while working at Lewisham homicide office.

He made an official complaint to the Metropolitan Police, claiming the incident was racially-motivated and was planning to take the force to an employment tribunal.

But his solicitor, Binder Bansel is still accusing the force of failing to address institutional racism, despite recommendations made in the Macpherson Report which followed the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

The 39-year-old also claims he was excluded from job opportunities while working at Lewisham homicide office.

Mr Bansel said: "He was systematically held back from courses which could have advanced his career."

He added: "Despite the events of recent years my client's case demonstrates the Met isn't sufficiently aware of the effect certain treatment can have on black officers.

"Such a stance can do little to encourage non-white officers to join the Met."

Mr Tele, who is currently based at East London's Specialist Crime Unit, said: "I was distressed by my treatment at Lewisham.

"However I hope that I can put these matters behind me and I aim to progress my career as a Met officer."

Scotland Yard apologised in writing to Mr Tele just days before the tribunal was due to start and acknowledged the distress caused to him.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman says the tribunal was settled without admitting liability, adding: "We expressed regret for any distress he may have suffered in relation to the warrant card incident.

"The letter acknowledged the incident was capable of causing offence for reasons relating to the claimant's race."

The police officer who made the warrant card was reprimanded for damaging police property.

See you in court, mast protesters tell Orange

CAMPAIGNERS are considering legal action again a mobile phone operator because its masts are just 6m from their homes.

Members of the Vanbrugh Park Residents' Association (VPERA) believe the Orange mobile phone station on top of a lift shaft at Westcombe Court, Blackheath, is flouting its operator's safety rules.

After 10 years, Orange is applying to Greenwich council to renew its lease for the base station, which includes six masts, three dishes and related electrical equipment Spokesman Jonathan Bond, from VPERA's "The future's green, not Orange campaign", said: "VPERA is in discussion with legal advisors.

"We hope to instigate court action against Orange for negligence and against Greenwich council for its failure to consult with residents and to allow this disgraceful situation to continue for so long.

"Our priority is to obtain a court injunction to have the base station turned off to protect those residents within 6m of the mast."

Mr Bond claimed VPERA had a statement made by Orange's legal department ruling there must be a "safety zone" of at least 10m around such stations to comply with International Commission on NonIonising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines.

An Orange spokeswoman said: "The 10m zone refers to the signal, which is based on the antenna direction rather than the physical location of the equipment."

She added a survey in December 2004 revealed emissions from the site were well below the ICNIRP guidelines.

A council spokesman said the authority had commissioned the report on radio emissions following concerns and is satisfied the masts are within the agreed health and safety and legal requirements.

Catford - more Del Boy than David Sylvian?

David Sylvian, born in the year of the Dog, is now 20 years away from his most famous image - the bleach and the make-up - and is writing on a laptop from his bedroom.

It's an old meditation room in a converted Ashram on the side of a mountain somewhere in New England, USA.

It's his last week there. His 13-year marriage has ended and he is moving on, basing himself in New York and London.

It seems he's spent a lifetime on the move. But then again, its unimaginable to imagine him having found a home in his place of origin; South London's Catford, a place better suited to the likes of Del Boy than David Sylvian.

The new album is called Snow Borne Sorrow and its glacial and expansively detailed soundscapes - as detailed as a snowflake and just as pure - seem a literal lifetime away from his glam soul boy origins.

"I was never at 'home' in my hometown," says David. "Maybe that's part of why I experienced the world as a hostile place, although much of it was due to my own psychology. Sure, the location was virtually devoid of any redeeming features but it was the village-like mentality of the suburbs that was suffocating."

Sylvian's first and still most famous band, Japan, started young. Signed to Hansa Records via Pop manager legend Simon Napier Bell, the average age of the group was 17 when they began touring and recording. It was these means, this gang that allowed Sylvian to escape the utterly unsympathetic environment he was born into.


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