Met Police will take 100 years to ethnically represent London, force admits

Scotland Yard insists it is working to increase representation two decades after being branded institutionally racist

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Tuesday 19 February 2019 17:28 GMT
Met Police 'transformed' since Stephen Lawrence death, Commissioner Cressida Dick says

It will take 100 years for Metropolitan Police officers to ethnically represent London if recruitment continues at the current rate, the force has admitted.

Only 14 per cent of officers (4,200) are currently from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds (Bame), compared to 40 per cent of the capital’s population.

“For many the progress is too slow,” said Clare Davies, Scotland Yard’s head of human resources. “If we continue, even with the great progress we’ve made, it would take over 100 years to be representative of London.”

She insisted the force was investing in recruiting Bame officers, had set targets and “fundamentally defined” promotion practices.

The force wants to boost recruitment of Bame officers by another 250 per year, but they are currently concentrated at the lowest rank of constable and tail off up the ranks to just 4 per cent of chief officers.

Officers from Bame backgrounds are more likely to resign and more likely to be involved in grievance or disciplinary proceedings.

But Commissioner Cressida Dick said Scotland Yard had been “transformed” in the two decades since it was branded institutionally racist after a damning inquiry following Stephen Lawrence’s murder.

She said all recommendations for police in the 1999 Macpherson report had been fulfilled, weeks after the murdered black teenager’s mother said the fight against police racism had “stagnated”.

Ms Dick said she “does not recognise” claims that the Metropolitan Police is still institutionally racist and said the term was “not helpful or accurate”.

“This is an utterly different Metropolitan Police, we challenge ourselves constantly to continue to improve,” she added. “I think we’ve come an enormously long way – the Met I lead now doesn’t feel like an institutionally racist organisation to me. There are 40,000 of us, things go wrong. Every now and again we identify someone who has done something absolutely abhorrent and we get rid of them.”

Ms Dick said Stephen’s murder had “defined” her generation of policing.

She added: “Doreen and Neville Lawrence fought absolutely tirelessly for justice for Stephen and have achieved an incredible amount – their legacy, his legacy, will last for generations to come in policing and our society,” she added, saying that the murder had sparked reforms to how police deal with families, stop and search and hate crime.

Stephen Lawrence murder: Doreen Lawrence reacts to Gary Dobson and David Norris guilty verdict in 2012

Her comments came weeks after Baroness Lawrence told a parliamentary inquiry she had seen little progress nationally on 70 recommendations made in the report.

“It just seems as if things have become really stagnant and nothing seems to have moved,” she said.

Stephen was murdered by a gang of up to six racist attackers as he waited for a bus with his friend Duwayne Brooks in Eltham, southeast London, in 1993.

The bungled original investigation into his death sparked outrage amid claims of racism and corruption in the police.

Two of his murderers – Gary Dobson and David Norris – were jailed in 2012 through the use of new forensic techniques but their suspected accomplices have not been brought to justice.

Ms Dick said a small team of officers are still investigating the murder and are “constantly on the alert” for new evidence following an appeal last year.

“If we could possibly bring further killers to justice we absolutely will,” she added. “We are not going to forget Stephen or his legacy.”

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