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Scotland Yard Racism Row: Ten Abuse Complaints Referred To Watchdog

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The ten cases are being investigated by the IPCC
The ten cases are being investigated by the IPCC

Scotland Yard is under the spotlight after revealing 10 new complaints have been referred to the police watchdog.

Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey insisted "the Met does not tolerate racism" as he revealed on Thursday seven allegations had been reported after three officers were suspended over claims of offensive comments to colleagues.

It comes just days after the force vowed to get to the bottom of "very damaging" footage of one officer apparently racially abusing a man and another allegedly assaulting a teenage boy last summer.

Mackey warned there would be further referrals as he announced he had commissioned a review of complaints relating to alleged racism "to check the progress of ongoing cases".

A total of five officers have been suspended over the fresh allegations.

"We have been working closely with the Independent Police Complaints Commission on this," Mackey added outside New Scotland Yard.

"Today we have referred seven cases to the IPCC, in addition to the three cases already reported in the media. As the review continues there may be further referrals. All these cases were in the process of being considered by the MPS and five officers and staff had been, and still are, suspended."

Claims include:

  • Bullying by a number of police officers and staff against PCSOs over an 18 month period in Wandsworth.
  • An assault involving five officers from the Territorial Support Group against several youngsters in Hyde Park in 2011.
  • Complaint from a member of the public of racial abuse by an unidentified police officer whilst in Camden in January.
  • Mishandling of calls with a "racial element" by a Pc working in the force's central communication command in 2010.
  • Racist language by a Pc working in Westminster between May 2010 and August last year.
  • Racist language in Islington by a Pc and a member of police staff, reported on March 26.
  • Officer convicted on March 26 of racially aggravated public order offences that were investigated by British Transport Police - a mandatory referral to the IPCC

He added: "Four cases had been referred to the IPCC previously and passed back for local investigation. However these have now been re-referred as part of my review and they have agreed to look at them again.

"Whilst any use of racist language is abhorrent, what is reassuring for me is that in the ten cases that have been referred to the IPCC, six involve other officers who have stood up and raised concerns, showing that we are an organisation that will not stand for any racist behaviour. These officers were not motivated to report their concerns by recent media coverage as this was done before this week.

"I will always want to work in an organisation where someone who believes they've seen unacceptable behaviour feels they can challenge it and report it - knowing action will be taken, as it has been in these cases and as it will be whenever it occurs.

"The Met does not tolerate racism."

Three officers based in Newham were suspended earlier Thursday in relation to complaints that they used racist language.

It emerged Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) heard of the allegations on 19 March - before separate allegations of racism in the wake of last summer's riots became public.

Mike Franklin, a commissioner with the IPCC, said: "Naturally members of the public are going to have concerns that this again involves officers based in Newham Borough and I have asked the Metropolitan Police Service what measures they have in place to ensure allegations of this nature are not more widespread.

"It is right that allegations of racism provoke public outcry which is why I have determined these allegations will receive the full independent scrutiny of the IPCC."

Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe was previously forced to speak out after incidents on August 11 last year as police officers in London dealt with the fallout of the riots sweeping the capital.

Pc Alex MacFarlane was suspended after a recording was made of a suspect being called a "n*****".

The arrested man, named as Mauro Demetrio, 21, from Beckton, east London, was arrested on suspicion of drug driving but no action was later taken. He recorded the abuse on his mobile phone.

It also emerged that another officer, reportedly with Pc MacFarlane when Demetrio was abused, was placed on restricted duties after later being allegedly seen kicking the 15-year-old black boy to the ground and kneeing him.

The incident was said to have happened in the custody area of an east London police station with part of the incident recorded on CCTV.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who spoke to the Commissioner on Thursday, said the allegations were of "deep concern".

He said: "London is the most tolerant city in the world. There is no room for racism here and the Commissioner is right to take a zero-tolerance approach to any racism in the ranks of the Met as I do to any organisation in the Greater London Authority family."

Johnson added: "These allegations are therefore of deep concern and I have instructed my Deputy Mayor to liaise closely with the Commissioner and the IPCC to ensure they are investigated thoroughly.

"I note the actions of the Commissioner in moving swiftly on these allegations and I commend him for his proactivity. The Mayor's job, my job, is to bring all Londoners together, and that includes strengthening the critical relationship between the police and those who they protect."

In relation to the new allegations, an IPCC spokeswoman said: "We await receipt of the seven referrals from the MPS and we will assess each case on its merits and make a decision regarding the level of IPCC involvement needed.

"At this stage the IPCC has not agreed to investigate any of these latest referrals."

The Met's Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey's full statement on racism:

"The Commissioner made it clear after the first alleged incident came to light last weekend that we take the issue of racism extremely seriously.

"I want to reiterate - there is no room for racism in the Met.

"The Met has around 50,000 staff, including 32,000 officers, who were deployed to over 1.3million incidents last year on behalf of Londoners. The vast majority act with the professionalism and high standards we expect.

"Earlier this week I commissioned a review of complaints relating to alleged racism to check the progress of on going cases.

"We have been working closely with the Independent Police Complaints Commission on this. Today we have referred seven cases to the IPCC, in addition to the three cases already reported in the media. As the review continues there may be further referrals.

"All these cases were in the process of being considered by the MPS and five officers and staff had been, and still are, suspended.

"Four cases had been referred to the IPCC previously and passed back for local investigation. However these have now been re-referred as part of my review and they have agreed to look at them again.

"Whilst any use of racist language is abhorrent, what is reassuring for me is that in the ten cases that have been referred to the IPCC six involve other officers who have stood up and raised concerns, showing that we are an organisation that will not stand for any racist behaviour. These officers were not motivated to report their concerns by recent media coverage as this was done before this week.

"I will always want to work in an organisation where someone who believes they’ve seen unacceptable behaviour feels they can challenge it and report it - knowing action will be taken, as it has been in these cases and as it will be whenever it occurs.

"The Met does not tolerate racism."