London

Metropolitan Police failings over race complaints

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Media captionThe Independent Police Complaints Commission inquiry looked into 60 referrals of incidents between April and May 2012 and complaints from 2011.

The Metropolitan Police force is failing to tackle complaints of racism by its officers fairly or robustly, an inquiry by a police watchdog has found.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission inquiry looked into 60 referrals of incidents between April and May 2012 and complaints from 2011.

The IPCC noted that "too often, complaints are dismissed without proper investigation or resolution".

The Met said it was "determined to be less defensive" and deal with issues.

The IPCC inquiry was set up in April last year, following several high profile race related incidents and complaints against the Met.

The watchdog carried out an analysis of all racism complaints during 2011-12 and reviewed a sample of 20 such complaints.

'Lessons not learnt'

IPCC Commissioner Jennifer Izekor said the way the Met handled complaints about alleged racist behaviour by police officers was "crucial to public confidence in policing".

She said: "This report shows that, though there are some examples of good practice, in general there is an unwillingness or inability to deal with these complaints robustly and effectively.

"Too often, complaints are dismissed without proper investigation or resolution, complainants are not properly engaged with, and lessons are not learnt.

"If the Metropolitan Police Service is serious about building that confidence, there will need to be a cultural change to complaints handling."

Met's Assistant Commissioner (Territorial Policing) Simon Byrne said: "The Commissioner has made it clear that he is determined to reform the Met. Today's report helps to highlight how big that task is.

"We are determined to be less defensive and accept when we are not performing as well as we should be, and we therefore welcome the report and its findings.

"It is powerful, showing the way we deal with complaints involving racism is letting down the public."

All public complaints alleging racism which are handled locally will be supervised by the Directorate of Professional Standards until the end of 2013, to ensure staff are adequately trained, he added.

Also, a senior officer of the rank of superintendent or above will be responsible and accountable for how complaints are handled.

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