By: Pramod Thomas
A senior officer has admitted that racism is a problem in the Metropolitan Police, however, he denied that Met was a “racist organisation”.
Deputy assistant commissioner Bas Javid, brother of health secretary Sajid Javid, told BBC Two’s Newsnight that some officers “have racist views and are racist“.
His comments came after two black colleagues told the BBC it was getting worse.
One officer said a supervisor used a racist slur against him. Another said senior leaders suggested black people were not clever enough for the Met.
“The fact that you’ve had officers or staff come to you to make allegations, what I’d like to see is an organisation where people feel comfortable to come forward and report it so we can deal with it effectively,” he told the BBC.
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The culture of London’s Metropolitan Police force has come under close scrutiny, with Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick resigning after London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was not satisfied with her response to the scale of the cultural change required.
Among his concerns were the rape and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer last year, and a report into abusive behaviour at Charing Cross police station published earlier this month.
According to the report, Javid ruled himself out as a possible successor to Dame Cressida. He added that it would be for the mayor and home secretary to decide if the next commissioner should be someone from an ethnic minority.
“What I would say is, there are people who have racist views and are racist and they are in policing. But what I won’t do is describe the organisation as a racist organisation. There was absolutely no room for racism in policing, especially here in the Metropolitan Police,” Javid, who is responsible for professional standards, was quoted as saying by the BBC.
“If people are found to be racist or discriminatory in any way, then I will do absolutely everything I can to make sure they’re removed from the police.”
One of the officers who spoke to the BBC said racism within the force had got worse and officers accused of discrimination did not face adequate sanctions.
The second officer, a black woman in a senior role, said working in the Met Police was “incredibly traumatic” for black officers because of the discrimination they faced.
Janet Hills, who from 2013 to 2021 served as head of the Met’s Black Police Association, told the BBC that the force needed a “consistent approach and zero tolerance towards people that are racist within policing”.
She added that staff found to have committed misconduct or racist behaviour should face dismissal.
‘No faith’ in London mayor
Meanwhile, the Met Police Federation has declared it has “no faith” in Sadiq Khan after the “very public ousting” of Dame Cressida Dick as commissioner, the BBC reported.
More than 31,000 rank-and-file officers are represented by the Met Police Federation.
Chairman Ken Marsh warned that the atmosphere among Met Police officers was at “rock bottom”.
Khan recently said that he was “deeply concerned” as public trust in the force had been “shattered”. He said the next commissioner needed to make things change quickly.
In response to the Met Police Federation’s comments, Khan said he stood by his views, insisting it was his job to “stand up for Londoners”.
According to Marsh, the remarks made by the mayor had “undermined the professional, dedicated and incredibly difficult work of tens of thousands of hard-working and brave police officers from across the capital“.
“We have let the mayor’s office know in no uncertain terms how our brave and diligent colleagues deserve better. Officers in London feel saddened and angry that the commissioner, Cressida Dick, has been pushed out in the way she has,” he was quoted as saying by the BBC.
“We are deeply disappointed with the actions of the mayor.”
A spokesman for the mayor added: “The mayor has always made clear that there are thousands of incredibly brave and decent police officers at the Met, who we owe a huge debt of gratitude.
“But the series of scandals seen in recent years has tarnished the reputation of the police, which is so crucial to policing by consent.
“Downplaying the scale of the change required is only going to hinder, not help, the vital process of restoring Londoners’ trust in the Met.”