Black officers to entrap racist police

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The Independent Online
BLACK POLICE officers are to be used as undercover "agents" to catch out racist detectives. Scotland Yard will also introduce random "integrity" testing, which will include placing marked piles of cash in police stations to discover whether officers are honest.

Officers accused of dishonesty or racism are expected to be filmed and recorded as part of a fresh drive against abuse of power, corruption and racism, to be launched next month.

The Metropolitan Police has already used the money trap and has caught at least one officer, who faces charges.

Rank-and-file officers are expected to react with fury to the move, which follows a succession of racist allegations made during and since the inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence. The head of the Police Federation criti-cised what he termed "fishing expeditions". last night.

The most controversial aspect of the initiative is the use of random testing and covert operations against suspected racist officers and units.

A senior Scotland Yard source confirmed that black and Asian police officers would be used to test allegations of racism. The police may also use civilians from the ethnic minorities, possibly actors.

Anti-corruption detectives already use covert techniques that include approaching officers with proposals to break the law.

A senior Scotland Yard source said: "We will be testing officers throughout the Met to see whether they are honest. It will include abuse of powers, honesty, dishonesty, and racism. If officers are approached to act corruptly they are never sure whether it is CIB [anti-corruption unit] or genuine."

On the question of racism, he argued: "If we have doubts about any officer's or unit's behaviour then we would find ways of testing these fears."

Fred Broughton, chairman of the Police Federation, which represents all officers below the rank of superintendent, said: "The setting of traps places every officer under suspicion and exposes them to temptation.

"Corruption and racism must be exposed and eradicated from the service but there's a world of difference between setting traps where there's suspicion and embarking on a general fishing expedition."

Glen Smyth, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, opposed a random approach. "You would be getting into big brother territory, which is not a healthy atmosphere to work in," he said.

An unprecedented number of officers are being investigated for alleged corruption throughout the UK.

Sir Paul Condon, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, has advocated proactive anti-corruption and integrity-testing for officers.

Some forces already askofficers to reveal details of their bank accounts, and run confidential telephone lines for officers to report suspected wrongdoing by colleagues.