Met suspends eight officers and civilian in racism inquiry

Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey
Image caption Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey said officers had raised concerns

Eight Metropolitan Police officers and a civilian staff member have been suspended as the IPCC investigates complaints of racism against the force.

The Met said an acting sergeant and two PCs based in Newham had been suspended on Thursday over a claim of racist abuse after last year's London riots.

Five more officers and a civilian staff member have been suspended within the past year over seven other complaints.

Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey said the Met "does not tolerate racism".

In total, 20 officers are being investigated in relation to the 10 claims of racism.

Mr Mackey said the force had referred all 10 cases to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), including four cases which were re-referred after the watchdog recommended they should be locally investigated.

The IPCC has begun a formal investigation into the allegations relating to the officers from Newham.

Following the new allegations, an IPCC spokeswoman said: "We await receipt of the seven referrals from the MPS and we will assess each case on its merits and make a decision regarding the level of IPCC involvement needed.

"At this stage the IPCC has not agreed to investigate any of these latest referrals."

'High standards'

The disclosure comes days after the force vowed to get to the bottom of what it called a "very damaging" mobile phone recording of one officer apparently racially abusing a man and another allegedly assaulting a teenage boy last summer.

The cases under investigation cover a range of areas including Westminster, Wandsworth and Islington and two go back as far as 2010.

An officer linked to one of the complaints has been suspended after being convicted of racially aggravated offences.

Mr Mackey said he had commissioned a review of racism complaints and added: "The Met has around 50,000 staff, including 32,000 officers, who were deployed to over 1.3 million incidents last year on behalf of Londoners.

"The vast majority act with the professionalism and high standards we expect.

"Whilst any use of racist language is abhorrent, what is reassuring for me is that in the ten cases that have been referred to the IPCC six involve other officers who have stood up and raised concerns, showing that we are an organisation that will not stand for any racist behaviour."

'Deep concern'

Allegations of bullying, abuse and physical assault were outlined in the new cases made public.

Following the new allegations, Mayor of London Boris Johnson spoke to the commissioner and said the claims were of "deep concern".

He said: "London is the most tolerant city in the world. There is no room for racism here and the commissioner is right to take a zero-tolerance approach to any racism in the ranks of the Met.

"These allegations are therefore of deep concern and I have instructed my deputy mayor to liaise closely with the commissioner and the IPCC to ensure they are investigated thoroughly."

Keith Vaz MP, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said: "A generation after the Stephen Lawrence case the public will be gravely concerned to see so many police officers in the force under investigation for racist behaviour.

"We need a broader investigation to reassure people that this is not a cultural problem within the Met which has led to these police officers believing they could get away with such despicable behaviour."

Earlier this week the Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said he was "shocked" by the allegations adding: "I will not stand for any racism or racists."

Claims include:

  • Bullying by a number of police officers and staff against police community support officers over an 18-month period in Wandsworth. Two officers were suspended.
  • An assault involving five officers from the Territorial Support Group against several youngsters in Hyde Park in 2011.
  • A complaint from a member of the public of racial abuse by an unidentified police officer while in Camden in January.
  • Mishandling of calls with a "racial element" by a PC working in the force's central communication command in 2010.
  • Racist language by a PC working in Westminster between May 2010 and August last year.
  • Racist language in Islington by a PC and a member of police staff, reported on 26 March. Both the officer and civilian staff were suspended.
  • An officer convicted on 23 March of racially aggravated public order offences that were investigated by the British Transport Police - a mandatory referral to the IPCC. The officer is suspended.
  • Allegation of a PC racially abused a prisoner on 11 August in Newham, he has been suspended. Also, two PCs assaulted the prisoner on 11 August in Newham.
  • Allegation that an acting sergeant and two PCs based in newham used racist language between January and March 2012. All three were suspended on Thursday.

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