Male recruit discriminated against by Cheshire Police will now join force

A potential police recruit who was rejected because he is a white heterosexual male will now join the force after it was found guilty of discrimination.

Matthew Furlong, 25, whose father is a serving detective inspector in Cheshire Police, had hoped to follow in his footsteps when he applied to join the force in 2017, but he lost out to other candidates.

Earlier this year, he won an employment tribunal case which found Cheshire Constabulary discriminated against him on the grounds of sexual orientation, race and sex.

Matthew Furlong
Matthew Furlong

Lawyers for Mr Furlong said a settlement had been reached with the force and he would be joining as a student officer in September.

Jennifer Ainscough, an employment lawyer at Slater and Gordon, said: “Positive action is an incredibly important tool to aid diversity in the workforce but this case is a reminder that it must be applied correctly to ensure that employers still recruit candidates based on merit above all else.

“Matthew was an exceptional candidate who I am sure will be an exceptional police officer and we wish him every success in his future career.”

Cheshire Constabulary Deputy Chief Constable Julie Cooke said: “We accept the findings of the tribunal and have looked very carefully at our entire recruitment practice.

Matthew Furlong
Matthew Furlong

“Action has been taken to change some of our processes and take account of the hearing’s result.

“It is important for us, and for candidates, that the recruitment process is fair and transparent and that all candidates are treated in a fair and consistent manner.

“However, I would like to stress that these processes were put in place with the best of intentions to attract candidates from diverse communities, and at no time were the standards of our recruits reduced.”

Mr Furlong’s lawyers said it was the first reported case of its kind in the UK, after the employment tribunal ruled Cheshire Constabulary used positive action – where employers take steps to recruit certain groups of people with different characteristics – but in a discriminatory way.