Page last updated at 14:54 GMT, Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Call to fast-track ethnic police

Ali Dizaei
Commander Ali Dizaei wants financial sanctions for forces that fail to deliver

The president of the National Black Police Association has called for positive discrimination to boost the number of black and Asian officers.

Commander Ali Dizaei, who is speaking at a conference in York, said "radical change" was needed to recruit the "right people" to tackle terrorism.

He said such a move could "cause division" among white officers, but it would be for "the greater good".

Mr Dizaei also criticised police vetting procedures as "obsolete".

The commander is currently suspended from duty at the Metropolitan Police, accused of misconduct.

He denies the allegations and said they should not affect what he was trying to say.

"The message I give is bigger than me and is for the good of the community," he said.


Mr Dizaei told the BBC that radicalisation and extremism were the "single biggest issue" facing Britain and the police "absolutely" needed positive discrimination to help tackle it.

"We need the right people with the right skill sets to be employed by the police service to identify this new threat," he said.

"Clearly these kind of people need to be fast-tracked into the police service. We believe that these skill sets are not ones you can learn doing an MA at a university.

I think the time has come for radical change to take place
Commander Ali Dizaei
National Black Police Association

"I'm not ashamed in saying that we need positive discrimination, simply because operationally, because of the threats we face in terms of people becoming radicalised.

"We need people in order to immerse them in the communities to give us the intelligence to deal with that."

Mr Dizaei accepted that positive discrimination would not be welcomed by many white officers.

"It may cause division, but this is about the greater good and it's about a threat which faces everyone," he said.

"The time has come for radical change to take place."

'Wrong holidays'

The commander also said he had concerns about the vetting system by which an ethnic minority officer might apply for promotion.

"We believe that the vetting procedures are obsolete, are old and are inconsistent.

"It has led to a situation where a lot of good candidates are not allowed to go to a specialist department because, for example, they went to Pakistan rather than Portugal for their holidays in the last two years.

"Or good recruits not being able to come in because they have links with Middle Eastern countries."

Mr Dizaei also called for financial sanctions on police forces that failed to deliver on race and equality.

Senior officer Dizaei suspended
19 Sep 08 |  London
Senior Met officer investigated
12 Sep 08 |  London

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