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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Frank Turner performing at 93 Feet East
musicReview: 93 Feet East, London
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Extras
indybest
Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee