Met launches racism inquiry

By politics.co.uk staff

A “race and faith” inquiry will be launched tomorrow to examine the way the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) handles the employment of ethnic minorities.

The inquiry comes almost ten years to the day of the publication of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, which accused the MPS of institutionalised racism.

One of the key tasks of the inquiry is to discover why ethnic minority officers gain promotion less often and are more likely to leave the force than their white counterparts.

A Met spokesman said: “We are consistently looking to improve the recruitment, retention and progression of staff from black and minority ethnic backgrounds to ensure that we are representative of London’s diverse communities.”

Following a series of high-profile accusations of racial discrimination against the then commissioner Sir Ian Blair, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, announced the formation of the inquiry in October.

Despite ongoing concerns about police relations with minority communities, the inquiry will only look into the employment practices of the MPS and will endeavour to not revisit previous reviews.

The first witness to give evidence will be Tarique Ghaffur, the former assistant commissioner who received a £300,000 payout after accusing Sir Ian of discrimination.

Mr Ghaffur alleged he had been passed over for promotion because of his race, despite being the most senior Asian police officer in the country. He has since withdrawn his complaint.

The inquiry coincides with a report, released yesterday, which looked into how the MPS had implemented the recommendations of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry.

The report, by the Runnymede Trust, found that black and minority ethnic communities still experience disadvantages both within, and at the hands of, the MPS.

Runnymede Trust Director, Dr Rob Berkeley, said: “It is time for the police service to look at its own practice and policies to understand how it can continue to justify the disproportionate rates of black people being stop and searched and how it manages so successfully, year-on-year, to exclude black officers from its ranks.

“It’s only with this type of brutal self-interrogation that we will begin to see a more just police service for all.”

The inquiry will be chaired by Cindy Butts, an independent member of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA).

It will hear testimonies until the end of March and hopes to produce a draft report for May.