London mayor orders police racism inquiry after charges

October 6th, 2008 - 5:31 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 6 (IANS) London mayor Boris Johnson Monday ordered an inquiry into alleged racism in the Metropolitan Police, the force responsible for policing the British capital and its suburbs.The announcement came after the Metropolitan Black Police Association (BPA) called upon blacks and Asians not to join police force, also known as Scotland Yard, because of the “hostile and racist situation there”.

“The Metropolitan Police, under the current management and supervision of the Metropolitan Police Authority, have made the working environment for its existing black staff 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 said.

“We would be failing our duty as an association if we did not share our current experiences with those who want to join the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). We will not put up or shut up to racism and inequality.”

It said last month’s suspensions of Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur - Britain’s most senior Asian officer - and Commander Ali Dizaei were proof that ethnic minorities are treated unfairly.

Ghaffur had accused Met Police Commissioner Ian Blair of racism.

Blair quit last week but cited pressure from the Conservative mayor as the reason.

The race inquiry is to be led by Cindy Butts, deputy chairwoman of the Metropolitan Police Authority, a 23-member body headed by the mayor that is meant to ensure the police force is accountable for its services.

Butts admitted Monday that although the police force had made major improvements in the recruitment of blacks and Asians there were “still problems in the Met to do with race”.

At least 20 percent of all new recruits into London’s police training college are from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Kent Chief Constable Mike Fuller, who is Britain’s most senior black police officer, told the BBC that most ethnic minority police have to work harder than their white colleagues to succeed.

Fuller said he himself had fallen prey to racism, with people having tried to block past promotions.

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