London, June 16 : British cops have spent 100,000 pounds trying to adapt a helmet to fit over a Sikh officer's turban after he accused them of discrimination.
A police project that involved spending 100,000 pounds to help a Sikh officer find a chemical and biological attack suit to fit over his turban and beard.
The junior officer, who has not been named, encountered problems trying to join West Midlands Police's counter-terrorist operation support unit because he could not fit protective gear over his religious headwear and beard.
The row flared when the PC applied to join the crack counter-terrorist Operational Support Unit. Senior officers turned him down because normal protective helmets and gasmasks would not fit over his turban and beard.
Police chiefs decided to let him spend 18 months trying to find new respirators and helmets suitable for Sikhs.
But after failing to come up with an alternative he was restored to his regular role - only to go on long-term sick leave for stress.
The cost of the 18-month project has been estimated at 100,000 pounds and has been criticised for being a "ridiculous" waste of taxpayers' cash.
John Mellor, a former West Midlands Police chief superintendent, said: "Taking 18 months out of an officer's duties and the colossal cost of the project is indefensible."
The protective suits are essential for protection in the event of a chemical or biological attack.
A West Midlands Police spokesman defended the amount of money spent.
He explained: "As an employer committed to equality and diversity, we are working to try and find a solution to what is a national issue."