The civil servant head of Scotland Yard's watchdog was under investigation today over allegations of racism.
Catherine Crawford, chief executive of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), is at the centre of an independent inquiry.
It was sparked after members of the Metropolitan Black Police Association (MBPA) claimed she discriminated against ethnic minority officers.
They told investigator Anthony Allen she failed to hold senior members of the force to account over claims of racial and religious prejudice.
Mrs Crawford was a key behind-the-scenes figure in an angry race row which embroiled Britain's largest force last year.
The MPA, led by London Mayor Boris Johnson, is responsible for the appointment and discipline of senior officers.
Mrs Crawford has advised senior officers, including former Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, on how to handle a series of explosive claims against the force.
Former Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, Commander Ali Dizaei and Commander Shabir Hussain all alleged racism.
Legal documents submitted by the MBPA said members have been concerned for some time about the conduct of Mrs Crawford, a source confirmed.
It is understood that further claims have been made that complaints against ethnic minority officers were probed more vigorously than those against white officers.
An MPA spokeswoman said: "A complaint against MPA chief executive Catherine Crawford has been received and formally recorded by the Authority's complaints officer.
"All complaints made against members of staff are taken seriously and the Authority has a formal process to deal with them.
"As this complaint is against the MPA chief executive, an independent investigating officer has been appointed.
"As this is an ongoing internal staff matter, it is not appropriate to comment further.
"However, the MPA retains full confidence in its chief executive, Catherine Crawford, and will not be commenting publicly in detail on the complaint."
Mr Ghaffur sparked a bitter row with his employer last summer by lodging employment tribunal papers alleging racism.
He undertook an outspoken press conference and the matter culminated in his early retirement several months later.
Mr Dizaei has been suspended over several disciplinary matters as he awaits trial over allegations of perverting the course of justice and misconduct in public office.
The charges relate to an incident in July last year when Mr Dizaei arrested a man outside an Iranian restaurant in west London.
Mr Hussain brought an employment tribunal with claims Sir Ian had a "golden circle" of senior white officers but his allegations were rejected.
The MPA spokeswoman added: "The MPA is not a racist organisation. We take our legal and moral responsibilities seriously and are proud of our diversity as an organisation, which we believe is a major strength in our work generally and in promoting diversity in the Metropolitan Police in particular.
"The Authority follows a code of conduct that embraces the best tenets of employment best practice for all of our staff."Reuse content