Sunday, October 05, 2008

More trouble at the Met

From tomorrow black and ethnic minority police officers in London are to "actively discourage (through our extensive community network) potential applicants from applying to join the Metropolitan Police." Blimey.

Is this because "progressive" copper Sir Ian Blair has been given his marching orders? Nah. It's because under Blair's watch black officers have felt grievance pile upon grievance until they've taken an unprecedented decision to publicly declare that London's police force is no place for people like them.

The spark that led to this decision is the suspension of the two most senior ethnic minority officers, Tarique Ghaffur and his advisor Commander Ali Dizaei (pictured), a move that came after Ghaffur made official complaints about racist discrimination - a fact which indicates that the case of these two men is a symptom of the disease - not the problem itself.

The Metropolitan Black Police Association said that the Met was "a hostile atmosphere where racism is allowed to spread and those who challenge it are either suspended, told to shut up or subtly held back in relation to career development."

It's nine years since the Macpherson report described institutional racism in the force, it seems that if there has been any progress London's black coppers, people who are in a good position to judge if there has been significant improvements, are still far from satisfied that this organisation that's intended to uphold the law is not, itself, guilty of racist discrimination.

1 comment:

James Patterson said...

I think that the issue of institutionalised racism in the Met will only be effectively addressed by increased democracy and transparency in the way that it is run.

For a start, the role of Commissioner absolutely should not be the gift of a politically-motivated Mayor of London. Secondly, stakeholder groups such as the Metropolitan Black Police Association should be consulted during the selection process for a new Commissioner.

Most importantly, elected politicians seeking to remove an incumbent Commissioner should be required to convince these stakeholder groups that such action is necessary.