April 28, 2022 11.24 am

Disabled cop loses discrimination claim against Lincolnshire Police

Row started during pandemic when PC wanted to work from home

A dyslexic cop who claimed he struggled to log incidents on his work mobile because it didn’t have a spelling and grammar check has lost a disability discrimination case against Lincolnshire Police.

PC Conway, a response officer based at Sleaford Police Station, claimed the force failed to make a reasonable adjustment by not providing him with a laptop, but that has been dismissed by an employment tribunal panel.

The panel, chaired by employment Judge Ayre, ruled Lincolnshire Police had only known PC Conway’s disability placed him at a disadvantage that needed adjustments from March 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the officer wanted to work from home.

“It was only when the pandemic hit and the claimant wanted to work from home that he formally raised the issue of a laptop,” the panel said.

“There was a very high demand for laptops… priority was being given to those in frontline roles such as child protection, and to staff who were clinically vulnerable. [PC Conway] did not fall into either of those categories.

“[PC Conway] was able to perform his administrative duties in Sleaford Police Station using a desktop computer, but chose not to.”

The officer was given a laptop in June 2020, three months after he first asked for one, and was then allowed to work from home due to his concerns over COVID-19.

This coincided with PC Conway returning to his normal role, following restricted duties, after an investigation into his use of a taser while restraining a suspect.

The tribunal also heard PC Conway had been on a list of officers to ‘act up’ as sergeants if needed, but Chief Inspector Phil Vickers took him off that list after becoming concerned about his “decision making ability” following a string of emails criticising the force.

A further claim for ‘harassment’ was deemed to be ‘out of time’, but the panel judged this would have been dismissed anyway.

This involved a supervisor allegedly laughing at PC Conway’s disability during a phone call about a fraud case form.

Prior to the call, the PC had been accused of missing essential details from the document with a supervisor saying “the report has poor grammar and does not read well and is woefully short of detail”.

PC Conway joined the force in December 2016, but didn’t disclose his disability at the time, however was a member of the police Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Autism Working Group, and continues to serve as a representative of the Lincolnshire Police Federation, after being elected in 2019.

A Lincolnshire Police spokesperson said: “We do not comment on individual cases.”