Met 'must give black officers a new deal'

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The Independent Online

The Metropolitan Police Service must radically change the way it treats ethnic minority officers, a devastating report will recommend this week in the wake of the failed investigation into allegations of corruption made against a leading officer.

The report, by Sir Bill Morris, the former union leader, will make more than 100 recommendations when it is published on Tuesday. It is understood to conclude that there is a "disproportionality" in the number of black and ethnic minority officers who face disciplinary action.

It will call for Britain's largest police force to be restructured on a scale last seen after Lord Scarman's inquiry into the Brixton riots in April 1981, which were blamed on racial tension.

The inquiry, chaired by Sir Bill, was set up following the collapse of a £7m investigation into allegations of corruption against an Iranian-born officer, Superintendent Ali Dizaei. The report is expected to say that Supt Dizaei, who was awarded £80,000 in compensation after the accusations against him were dropped, was treated unfairly partly because of his race. It will add that his treatment requires further investigation and should be reviewed separately.

The report will also recommend the creation of a new post of chief executive with responsibility for professional standards, employment and procurement matters, allowing the commissioner to beoperationally focused. Sir Bill has been at pains to stress that the inquiry is into professional standards and employment matters, but race has played a big part in his team's inquiries.

The Metropolitan Police Authority set up the inquiry in January after questions were raised over the handling of high-profile disciplinary cases involving ethnic minority officers. As well as Supt Dizaei there was the case of Sergeant Gurpal Virdi, who was reinstated after being wrongly sacked for allegedly sending racist hate mail to himself.

The Black Police Association (BPA) introduced a recruitment boycott and threatened to lead a march of 1,000 uniformed black police officers on Scotland Yard.

Ray Powell, the president of the BPA, warned Sir Ian Blair, who takes over from Sir John Stevens as commissioner in January, that black officers expect all the inquiry's recommendations to be implemented. "We've seen so many inquiries but with very little subsequent action," Mr Powell said. "If they don't implement the report's recommendations the consequences for the Metropolitan police are huge."

Sir William Macpherson's report into the Met's handling of the murder in 1993 of Stephen Lawrence said the force was "institutionally racist" and made 70 recommendations for improving police attitudes to race.