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Metropolitan Racism Report.

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The Metropolitan Police sign.The Metropolitan Police
A draft report into race and diversity in the Metropolitan Police warns there's fear among white officers that they'll be accused of racism when dealing with ethnic minority staff.

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Trevor Phillips the Chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality responds to the Met Police report on race and diversity.
Trevor Phillips.

Trevor Phillips the Chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality.
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Metropolitan Police officers

Metropolitan Police officers.
Stephen Lawrence

Stephen Lawrence.
Cynics might call this yet another introspective look at that old chestnut -- racism in the Met. So what's new? Talk to experienced police officers and they will have to feign real surprise. But the most important thing is that it is there in black and white for everyone to read.

The headlines: Black and Asian officers are three times as likely to leave the Met within two years -- that is before they finish being probationers.

They think there are 'no go areas' when applying for jobs in specialist units.

"It's not a case of glass ceilings but sticky floors," says the Chair of the Met's Black Police Association, Chief Inspector Leroy Logan.

And white officers are so scared they will be accused of racism they pass complaints against ethnic minority staff higher up in the disciplinary chain. The report describes this as 'a significant environment of fear'. But it means black and Asian officers are more likely to be investigated.

At times it almost seems as if common sense and initiative have been suspended. Not my words but that of the author of this report, Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur.

He said: "I think one of the reasons is because there has been a huge amount of high profile coverage of cases and also that we need to work a bit harder in building the capabilities of our managers."

But his report also warns of a backlash and resentment among white officers if there is affirmative action -- illegal in Britain -- and fast tracking of successful black and Asian candidates.

One of those investigated by the Met was Superintendent Ali Dizaei. His case made headlines and led to a boycott by the Met BPA on recruiting ethnic minorities to the service. Six months ago, after being cleared at the Old Bailey of dishonesty and fiddling expenses, Dr. Dizaei returned to work with his integrity intact.

"I don't think disproportionately appears in investigations of black staff because white staff are fearful," he said, "it happens because there's institutional racism in some respects and direct racism in other respects."

There will be at least two further reports into racism in the police -- the Morris Inquiry, which is looking how the Met handle grievances and disputes, and the Commission for Racial Equality investigation following the BBC Secret Policeman documentary.

The Chair of the CRE, Trevor Phillips, wants his report to come up with solutions rather than engage in a blaming exercise.

"Managers should get on and do the job," he told Today, "they should have nothing to fear if they're being fair."

Before we dismiss these with report fatigue they may just be worth reading. After all, who would have thought five years ago that the MacPherson Report into the death of Steven Lawrence would have made such a difference in policing attitudes?



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