Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, has said he was “dismayed” to learn that evidence of sex and racial discrimination against a female detective had been deleted from an internal report by other officers.
PC Carol Howard, a former armed police officer who guarded the American embassy and was a “poster girl” for the London Olympic Games, won an embarrassing employment claim against Scotland Yard earlier this week.
The tribunal ruled that other Met officers had “singled out and targeted” PC Howard because of her gender and the colour of her skin.
In a damning judgment, the tribunal also said it was “very concerned” to find an internal review of the officer’s treatment by another Met officer had found that she was, in fact, sexually and racially discriminated against – but that more senior officers had instructed these references to be deleted from the file.
Boris Johnson was questioned on the matter today by Labour London Assembly member Joanne McCartney, who said a Freedom of Information request had unearthed 34 Met employment tribunals involving a race discrimination allegation — 30 of which were settled out of court.
Asked if he would hold a review of the 34 cases, the Mayor, who said he was “dismayed” by today’s findings, said: “Yes, certainly, I think we need to get to the bottom of what’s been going on in such cases.”
The news is acutely embarrassing for the Met which was strongly criticised after a landmark review of the Stephen Lawrence murder in March found the “mass-shredding” of embarrassing intelligence on corrupt police officers involved in drug trafficking, fraud and money laundering.
PC Howard was thrust into the spotlight in 2012 when the Met chose her to be a poster girl for a magazine feature on the 10,000 men and women on duty during the Olympics.
But a tribunal ruled the elite Diplomatic Protection Group officer was unfairly treated by her inspector who singled her out from colleagues.
Ms Howard's lawyer, Kiran Daurka, has now claimed that deleting findings of discrimination was “a policy” within the Met Police so that they could avoid having to investigate their officers.
She said: “We anticipate that wherever there's findings of discrimination they are being instructed to delete them.”
Ms Daurka, of law firm Slater & Gordon, called for a full public inquiry into how the Met handles race discrimination claims.
She branded the judgment a “damning indictment” of the Met and said its conduct has been “deplorable”.
“My client was subjected to discriminatory treatment because she is black and because she is a woman,” she said. “Fifteen years after the Met was branded ‘institutionally racist’ they have failed in addressing discrimination which pervades the system.”
The tribunal ruled that Miss Howard's supervisor, Acting Inspector Dave Kelly, showed a “personal hostility or antipathy” towards her and worked to “undermine, discredit and belittle her”.
It found that within weeks of becoming her boss he formed the view that she was “dishonest” and not up to the standard of her colleagues “without any sound basis”.
And his “negative perception” was linked to her race and gender and “no credible explanation” was provided for singling her out.
In one incident, a police car was sent to her home after she reported in sick for one day and her Facebook was monitored to check the reason for her absence.
The tribunal also found that the senior officer did not face any misconduct proceedings even after an internal inquiry found he did discriminate against PC Howard.
A Met spokesman said: “We are disappointed at the tribunal's finding in favour of PC Howard.
“The tribunal's decision will now to be given full and careful consideration. We will review the findings, take legal advice and take forward any learning or actions as appropriate.”