The Quickie

A bite-sized look at this week's news…

Bobbies Boycott the Met

Posted by allie1985 on October 14, 2008

Over the last week London Mayor Boris Johnson has issued an investigation into racism in the Met.

This followed from the suspension of two leading ethnics in the police force. Assistant Commissioner Tarique Gaffhur and Commander Ali Dizaei are the men in question and the NBPA (The National Black Police Association) are urging minorities to boycott the Met due to allegations of inequality.

The complaint originally stemmed from the apparent lack of promotion for non-white officers.

Mike Fuller, Britain’s only Black police chief, said on Panorama  “Ethnic officers will often have to work twice as hard to be recognised, to compete with their peers and that is a big concern.”

The NBPA itself suggests that the Met has a “hostile atmosphere where racism is allowed to spread”

Support

The boycott is being supported by the Society of Black Lawyers. Their chairman, Peter Herbert said although “there has been significant progress in the overall recruitment of minorities…. they are not getting into specialist sections of the police”.

Talks

Talks between the Met and the NBPA to call off the boycott began and ended on Tuesday when black officers took offence at a comment made by senior Met officer Martin Tiplady. He used the phrase “you people” when trying to distinguish between the Met and the NBPA.

A senior source at the association has acknowledged “everything has broken down. We will not talk to the acting commissioner or engage with him”.

The boycott is still on the cards and the group are using their community networks to ward people off joining.

Contrasting opinions

Interestingly, many ethnic police officers have spoken out against the boycott including Chief Superintendent Mak Chishty, a Muslim, who was quoted in the Daily Mail saying

“I don’t feel I have ever been held back. I have not suffered any abuse from my colleagues”.

He also said that he thought the boycott to be counterproductive and “I can’t see how it is going to be helpful in any way for people of an ethnic minority background not to join the police”.

He then pointed out that a good level of support should be provided for everyone interested in rising through the ranks at the Met but “the level of competence must be the same for everyone”.

The investigation

Boris Johnson’s investigation is to be conducted by Cindy Butts, a black independent member of the NBPA who believes the boycott is a disappointing step backwards and that “we cannot allow this issue to derail police and community relations”.

The primary purpose of the investigation is to examine whether there has been significant changes and improvements in the forces attitude towards race since the last Macpherson report in 1999.

Backup piece

Alexandra Murphy

(Alexandra.murphy@my.westminster.ac.uk)

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