Police in crisis after flood of racism complaints

Five officers suspended as Scotland Yard refers eight new cases to official watchdog

The Metropolitan Police has revealed new allegations of racist abuse, bullying and violence involving at least 15 of its officers, threatening a return to the crisis that saw the force branded "institutionally racist" more than a decade ago.

The Met referred eight new cases to the police watchdog as part of a hasty review, which was ordered after a recording emerged of an officer calling a 21-year-old black man a "nigger" as he was being arrested after last summer's riots. Senior officers are scrambling to stamp out the crisis and prevent a repeat of the years of soul-searching that followed the Macpherson inquiry's damning report on the investigation of the murder of Stephen Lawrence in Eltham, south-east London, in 1993.

The revelations also raise questions about the role of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which is being asked to look again at cases it has already investigated. New allegations against police that came to light yesterday included:

* A racist attack against several youths in Hyde Park in 2011 which involved five police officers, all of whom remain on full duties;

* Mishandling of calls with a "racial element" by a PC in the force's central communication command in 2010;

* Claims that a group of officers in Newham, east London, used racist language. Three have been suspended.

* Racist bullying by police and civilian staff against community support officers over an 18-month period. Two police officers have been suspended;

"We're just glad that what we have seen for a long time has come out," Estelle du Boulay, the director of the Newham Monitoring Project, told The Independent last night. "It's a typical picture for us."

The 10 cases which have come to light in the past week include an alleged attack on a 15-year-old boy in the custody suite at an east London police station. Speaking outside Scotland Yard yesterday, the Met's deputy commissioner Craig Mackey, who led the review, said there could be more referrals to the IPCC in the future.

Six of the new cases involved officers blowing the whistle on colleagues, which Mr Mackey said showed the prevailing attitude in the force.

Details of the new allegations, which apparently date back to 2010, emerged two days after the head of the Metropolitan Police, Bernard Hogan-Howe, made an appeal to staff to report any racist colleagues.

"The commissioner made it clear after the first alleged incident came to light last weekend that we take the issue of racism extremely seriously," Mr Mackey said. "I want to reiterate – there is no room for racism in the Met."

Mr Mackey, who said the force had been working closely with the IPCC during the review, said the watchdog had agreed to look again at four cases, but was not able to say why.

In a statement, the IPCC contradicted the claims made by the Met. "We await receipt of the seven referrals from the [Metropolitan Police] 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," it said.

The Macpherson Inquiry led to a huge change in British policing after its damning report into the failure of police to convict anyone for the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993. Two members of the racist white gang which stabbed the teenager to death were finally convicted earlier this year following a breakthrough in forensic science.

However, one of the panel members on the Macpherson Inquiry team, Dr Richard Stone, told The Independent that he still considered the force to be institutionally racist.

Suggested Topics
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Sheeran arrives at the 56th annual Grammy Awards earlier this year
musicYes, that would be Ed Sheeran, according to the BBC
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor