Settlement in police case tribunal

A hero police sergeant who claimed he had been forced to retire early following his treatment for cancer yesterday settled his claim for disability discrimination.

A hero police sergeant who claimed he had been forced to retire early following his treatment for cancer yesterday settled his claim for disability discrimination.

Sgt David Sutherland had taken Norfolk police to an employment tribunal in Norwich after the force attempted to redeploy him to frontline duties - despite the fact his bowel cancer had left him disabled and needing constant access to toilet facilities

Mr Sutherland, 52, from Dereham, said he became depressed as he was offered a string of unsuitable posts.

But the tribunal was halted as it entered its fourth day when Norfolk police and Mr Sutherland reached an amicable settlement. This followed medical evidence which only became available during the tribunal.

In a statement Norfolk police said: "We regret any distress that these proceedings may have caused Mr Sutherland and all those involved, but the constabulary believes everything possible was done to deal with his grievances.

"The constabulary's intention was always to be fair and reasonable. At all times the organisation sought to balance the operational needs of policing against the concerns raised by Mr Sutherland. Lessons have been learned about issues of process in this case."

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During his 26 years with the force, Mr Sutherland was highly commended for bravery after saving a drowning man from rough seas and was introduced to the Queen as part of his role leading the underwater search team.

On the first day of his hearing, he told the tribunal: "I began to feel that leaving the organisation that I had loved working for, for 26 years, was my only option."

Mr Sutherland was diagnosed with cancer in 2001. Due to complications during an operation to remove the tumour he almost lost a leg and, although the limb was saved by medics, the police doctor said his condition technically qualified him as an amputee who could never return to frontline duties.

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