Met suspend eight in racism probe
The Metropolitan Police must ensure there is "zero tolerance" of racism in its ranks, Yvette Cooper has warned.
The Shadow Home Secretary said any allegations of racism against officers must be taken "extremely seriously" by the police, the CPS and the IPCC, after eight officers were suspended by the force.
"The MPS worked hard to change after the Macpherson inquiry, but the number of these claims now is a very serious concern," she said.
"The police must ensure there is zero tolerance of racism in their ranks, and must act fast to deal with any suggestion of racism that arises. It is vital for justice that everyone from every community can be confident in the impartiality of the police and their ability to enforce the law fairly."
Speaking to Sky News this afternoon the chair of the Home Affairs Committee, Keith Vaz, said allegations of racism against Metropolitan Police staff were "depressing" and "very, very worrying".
"What’s depressing is that this is 2012, a generation after the Stephen Lawrence case and it’s disappointing that we, frankly, have so many police officers in the Met who are under investigation," Mr Vaz said.
"I know it’s a small number if you look at the number in the Met, but actually if you look at the daily occurrence of these pieces of information, it’s very, very worrying indeed."
Yesterday, the force confirmed that an acting sergeant and two PCs based in Newham had been suspended over a claim of racist abuse after last year's London riots. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating the claims.
It has now said a further seven complaints are being investigated, with five more officers having been suspended. The Met's Deputy Commissioner, Craig Mackey, said the Met "does not tolerate racism".
New figures released today under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that 120 officers at the Metropolitan police were found guilty of racist behaviour between 1999 and 2011.A Channel 4 News
investigation has revealed that, of these, 21 received some kind of sanction, six were forced to resign, and just one officer was dismissed.
The founder of the Black Police Association called for a "cultural change" in the police to root out racism.
Speaking to the Today programme, Leroy Logan said:
"I’m hoping that these revelations, what we’ve seen with the Stephen Lawrence murder suspects’ conviction, we start to see the need for bringing back race on the agenda.
"And in addition too, major quality issues, and to get that rigour and that grip, to get the performance indicators that hold people to account, because if it’s not measured, it’s not done."
Alf Hitchcock of the Association of Chief Police Officers defended the service's efforts in tackling racist behaviour, saying there had been "dramatic improvements".
"What we have made sure is that all forces have the right culture, a culture where people can challenge inappropriate behaviour and where people feel more comfortable," he said.