Page last updated at 13:45 GMT, Monday, 8 February 2010

Profile: Ali Dizaei

Ali Dizaei
Ali Dizaei was born in Iran and joined Thames Valley Police in 1986

Commander Ali Dizaei has been both a rising star and a thorn in the side of the Metropolitan Police.

Flamboyant and outspoken, he has climbed the ranks while having the suspicions of the force repeatedly directed towards him personally.

In turn, he has thrown the spotlight back on his own senior colleagues, consistently criticising them for presiding over - and even encouraging - racism within the Met.

Now he has been found guilty of misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice. He will serve two years of a four-year sentence in prison, the remainder on licence.

The charges relate to an incident outside a west London restaurant in July 2008 when a row broke out after Waad Al-Baghdadi demanded money from Dizaei for work done on his personal website.

He accused Dizaei of then assaulting and falsely arresting him.

Dizaei told the court the allegations against him were like something from "an episode of Life on Mars or the Sweeney", but it seems the jury disagreed.

Tipped for success

Other charges of misusing a corporate credit card were dropped in November after an inquiry found no evidence of wrongdoing.

It is not the first time such controversy has come his way.

What you are suggesting is that we should have a new offence in this country called 'travelling whilst Asian'
Ali Dizaei, speaking in 2006

Born in Iran in 1962, Dizaei is the grandson of a police assistant commissioner.

His father wanted him to have a British education, so he sent him to boarding school in West Sussex and he later went on to study law at London's City University.

His police career eventually began in genteel Henley-upon-Thames in 1986.

From the start, he was tipped for the top, and alongside his job, he managed to find time to study for an MA and then a doctorate.

Once a chief inspector, he was made an adviser to the home secretary on race issues, before being transferred to the Met - and promoted to superintendent - in 1999.

Fatefully, perhaps, it was the year in which the force was accused of institutional racism after the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

Corruption claims

Once at the Met, Dizaei quickly showed his willingness to speak out, accusing the force of "ethnic cleansing" by using "culturally biased" tests to pick white officers for senior ranks.

But he was also secretly suspected of wrongdoing himself.

In 2000, he became the target of Operation Helios - which was to turn into the most expensive inquiry ever held into a single officer.

At an eventual cost of £2.2m, Dizaei's own colleagues investigated him over allegations of perverting the course of justice, misconduct in public office and making false expense claims.

Former Met Commissioner Sir Ian Blair
Dizaei repeatedly criticised former Met chief Sir Ian Blair

He was suspended from duty for two years and in 2003 stood trial at the Old Bailey. He was eventually cleared of all charges.

Speaking afterwards, Dizaei said he believed there had been a campaign to "destroy my life and my career".

The then Met Commissioner Sir Ian Blair later apologised, saying the inquiry had caused "considerable damage" to the force.

'Scarface'

During the Helios court case, it emerged that Dizaei was intensely disliked by some of his more conservative colleagues.

They reportedly took issue with his "flash" clothes, open marriage, love of nightclubs and interest in bodybuilding.

In his more recent trial, his accuser likened him to Hollywood movie gangster Tony Montana, Al Pacino's infamous character in Scarface.

In turn, Dizaei bared his chest in the dock to show the jury where he himself had allegedly been injured.

Other accusations levelled at him over the years - none of which was ever substantiated - included claims he used prostitutes and spied for Iran.

The father of three was eventually reinstated in October 2003. He planned to take the Met to court for discrimination, but after the force paid him a reported £80,000, he ended the action and returned to the role of unflinching critic.

CCTV footage of Ali Dizaei
Mr Dizaei's court case concerned a row at a west London restaurant

Soon after, he accused "very senior" officers of spreading a "cancer of racism".

His comments prompted a formal call for ethnic minorities to boycott the Met by the National Black Police Association - an organisation which Dizaei went on to lead.

In 2006, he was again the focus of criticism after he attacked the Forest Gate anti-terror raid on two Muslim brothers and questioned the need for ethnic profiling of airline passengers.

"What you are suggesting is that we should have a new offence in this country called 'travelling whilst Asian'," he said.

The following year he angered his superiors even more as he singled several out for blame for Operation Helios in his autobiography Not One Of Us.

And more recently, he became a close confidant of former Met Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, who took legal action against the force over claims of racial discrimination. Mr Ghaffur later settled the case out of court.

Indeed, Dizaei told his recent trial that he had refused to answer questions after being arrested because he thought he was being unfairly "targeted" over his support for Mr Ghaffur.

Nevertheless, he insisted in court: "I remain a loyal police officer."

Newspaper damages

Despite these repeated run-ins with Met top brass, Dizaei continued to achieve in his career and was promoted to commander in March 2008.

Former Met Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur
Dizaei was a confidant of Tarique Ghaffur who accused the Met of racism

But barely six months later news emerged that he was being investigated once again over the most recent allegations.

In December 2008, he hit back, announcing that he would, for the second time in his career, be bringing a case of racial discrimination against the force.

He has also successfully sued a number of newspapers, most recently in December 2009, when the News of the World apologised and paid damages after wrongly claiming he had "employed an illegal immigrant as his right-hand man".

But following the guilty verdicts in this case, Dizaei who was suspended on full pay in September 2008, could face being sacked from the Metropolitan Police for gross misconduct.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Accused Met chief 'faked injury'
20 Jan 10 |  London
Police commander 'like Scarface'
13 Jan 10 |  London
Met chief cleared of card misuse
20 Nov 09 |  London
Met Commander begins race claim
17 Dec 08 |  London
Senior officer Dizaei suspended
19 Sep 08 |  London
Sir Ian apologises for 4m probe
05 Jun 07 |  London
Row over Dizaei promotion ruling
07 Mar 07 |  London
'Regret' over top officer's book
28 Feb 07 |  London
Dizaei probe 'seriously flawed'
16 Jun 04 |  London
Officer cleared of dishonesty
15 Sep 03 |  London

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific