Police Officer Discriminated Against for Traditional Values
Country: United Kingdom
Date of incident: July 9, 2008
Category: Government Restrictions
Attack against: Morals
Area of case: Workplace
PC Graham Cogman has taken his police force to an Employment Tribunal on grounds of harassment because of his traditional Christian values after a series of complaints and investigations suggesting he is ‘homophobic’ – something he strenuously denies. He says that the ‘over the top’ promotion of homosexual rights within Norfolk Police makes being a Christian policeman, or an officer with traditional family values, extremely difficult, unless a person is prepared to ignore his or her conscience.In 2006, PC Cogman, twice commended by his force for his loyalty and diligence, was working at the force’s Great Yarmouth headquarters when gay liaison officers put ‘politically correct’ pressure on all colleagues to wear a pink ribbon supporting Gay History Month. PC Cogman claims police stations were flooded with homosexual literature, posters, including the promotion of a gay quiz night in pubs. As a member of the Police force, an organisation which he feels is charged with upholding traditional standards of freedom of speech and association, he emailed colleagues with an alternative view on the subject, stating his Christian views and reminding them that Christians, and other members of society, whom they serve as officers, believed homosexual acts were wrong in God’s eyes.
PC Cogman was subsequently accused of failing to be tolerant and banned from using the force’s internal email system. When the event re-occurred 12 months later, PC Cogman again protested, especially when the promoters wanted to use the Rainbow Symbol, which has special significance for many Christians. The officer was summoned to a full disciplinary hearing. On the strong advice of lawyers, and because he was told he would lose his job otherwise, he pleaded guilty to a breach of the police code of practice and was fined the maximum, £1,200. When PC Cogman then added a Christian text to his computer screen saver, he was questioned again and in April 2008, he was interviewed about his faith and beliefs. He was threatened with losing his job.