Page last updated at 18:46 GMT, Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Metropolitan Police 'still institutionally racist'

Ali Dizaei
Dizaei's conviction has reignited the debate about Met 'racism'

The Met remains "without doubt" institutionally racist, the chairman of the Metropolitan Black Police Association (MBPA) has said.

Alfred John was speaking after Met Commander Ali Dizaei was jailed for four years for corruption.

Dizaei had earlier claimed he was the victim of a racist campaign after allegations of false expense claims.

The Met denied racism was rife in its ranks - a claim levelled at it during the Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry.

On Monday, Dizaei was found guilty of misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice after he assaulted and falsely arrested a man in a dispute over £600.

He was a former president of the MBPA.

The case has thrown the question of racism at the Met back into the spotlight.

Asked on Tuesday if the Met was still institutionally racist, Mr John told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Without a doubt. There is no two ways about that.

"The evidence is that by the Met's figures, black people are still disproportionately disciplined, they are still disproportionately asked to resign, there is still a lack of progression for black people."

Following the conviction a statement from the National Black Police Association said: "We respect the rule of law and therefore take the view that due process of law has taken its course and the verdict of the Jury in the case of Ali Dizaei must be respected."

The organisation added that it "does not and would never condone" the conduct for which Dizaei was convicted.

In the aftermath of the conviction, ex-deputy assistant Met commissioner Brian Paddick said the imprisonment of Dizaei "will do little to improve race relations in the police service".

Disciplinary action

A Met spokesman said: "Since the Stephen Lawrence inquiry in 1999 the Met has made significant progress.

"We believe the changes have enabled us to have a better relationship with London's communities, leading to increased confidence and trust in the Met.

In any large organisation there will, regrettably, be a small number of people whose attitudes or behaviours are totally unacceptable and racism will exist
Met Police spokesman

"However, we are not complacent and recognise there is still much more to do. We are committed to build upon the progress and will ensure that we have the right attitudes to serve all communities fairly."

He went on: "It is our view that, while the term 'institutionally racist' did help to drive change, it now does little to assist in focusing upon remaining challenges.

"In any large organisation there will, regrettably, be a small number of people whose attitudes or behaviours are totally unacceptable and racism will exist."

Stephen Lawrence was stabbed to death in 1993 in an unprovoked racist attack by a gang of white youths as he waited at a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London.

The report into police failings in the ensuing investigation accused the police of 'institutional racism' and made 70 recommendations for change.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has handed over a file on their findings against Dizaei to the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), the force's board of governors.

It could be up to a month before the MPA reaches a decision on how the officer should be disciplined.

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