Scotland Yard plunged into racism crisis
Thursday 05 April 2012
Scotland Yard was plunged into a racism crisis tonight after revealing 10 new complaints have been referred to the police watchdog.
Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey insisted "the Met does not tolerate racism" as he revealed seven allegations had been reported after three officers were suspended over claims of offensive comments to colleagues.
It comes just days after the force vowed to get to the bottom of "very damaging" footage of one officer apparently racially abusing a man and another allegedly assaulting a teenage boy last summer.
Mr Mackey warned there would be further referrals as he announced he had commissioned a review of complaints relating to alleged racism "to check the progress of ongoing cases".
A total of five officers have been suspended over the fresh allegations.
"We have been working closely with the Independent Police Complaints Commission on this," Mr Mackey added outside New Scotland Yard.
"Today we have referred seven cases to the IPCC, in addition to the three cases already reported in the media. As the review continues there may be further referrals.
"All these cases were in the process of being considered by the MPS and five officers and staff had been, and still are, suspended.
"Four cases had been referred to the IPCC previously and passed back for local investigation. However these have now been re-referred as part of my review and they have agreed to look at them again.
"Whilst any use of racist language is abhorrent, what is reassuring for me is that in the ten cases that have been referred to the IPCC, six involve other officers who have stood up and raised concerns, showing that we are an organisation that will not stand for any racist behaviour. These officers were not motivated to report their concerns by recent media coverage as this was done before this week.
"I will always want to work in an organisation where someone who believes they've seen unacceptable behaviour feels they can challenge it and report it - knowing action will be taken, as it has been in these cases and as it will be whenever it occurs.
"The Met does not tolerate racism."
Three officers based in Newham were suspended earlier today in relation to complaints that they used racist language.
It emerged Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) heard of the allegations on March 19 - before separate allegations of racism in the wake of last summer's riots became public.
Mike Franklin, a commissioner with the IPCC, said: "Naturally members of the public are going to have concerns that this again involves officers based in Newham Borough and I have asked the Metropolitan Police Service what measures they have in place to ensure allegations of this nature are not more widespread.
"It is right that allegations of racism provoke public outcry which is why I have determined these allegations will receive the full independent scrutiny of the IPCC.
"Undoubtedly, these are very serious allegations and I would like to reassure the Newham community and wider public, that we are conducting a full, thorough and independent investigation to establish the facts behind these allegations."
Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe was previously forced to speak out after incidents on August 11 last year as police officers in London dealt with the fallout of the riots sweeping the capital.
Pc Alex MacFarlane was suspended after a recording was made of a suspect being called a "n*****".
The arrested man, named as Mauro Demetrio, 21, from Beckton, east London, was arrested on suspicion of drug driving but no action was later taken. He recorded the abuse on his mobile phone.
It also emerged that another officer, reportedly with Pc MacFarlane when Mr Demetrio was abused, was placed on restricted duties after later allegedly being seen kicking the 15-year-old black boy to the ground and kneeing him.
The incident was said to have happened in the custody area of an east London police station with part of the incident recorded on CCTV.
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