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Dr Richard Stone: Police Racism 'Endemic' Says Former Member Of Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Panel

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Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe (centre) was sent an open letter by Dr Stone
Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe (centre) was sent an open letter by Dr Stone

The race row embroiling Scotland Yard showed little sign of abating today after a number of high-profile critics spoke out against the force and investigations into 10 cases of alleged racism involving Metropolitan Police officers continued.

A former member of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry panel said blame for routine racism within the Met rested with senior officers and is more endemic than Britain's biggest force is willing to admit.

Dr Richard Stone's reported condemnation came after Superintendent Leroy Logan, of the Black Police Association, said warnings of racism at Scotland Yard have fallen on "deaf ears" for more than a decade.

They spoke after 10 complaints of alleged racism - relating to 18 officers and one member of police staff - were referred to the police watchdog.

The referrals came just days after Scotland Yard 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.

Referring to the murder of Mr Lawrence in an open letter to Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe seen by the Independent, Dr Stone said: "Here we are 14 years later with the worst kind of blatant and violent racism by police. Even worse is that the officers appear to be doing it openly in front of colleagues from whom they have no fear of being reported."

He added: "Such a group of constables could not be routinely racist like this without their seniors being aware, and telling them to stop. I fear this may alas be more than 'just a few bad apples'."

Supt Logan, a founder member and former chairman of both the London and National Black Police Association (NBPA), said he was "disappointed" by the Met's apparent failure to take effective action against racism following years of feedback from black communities.

He warned that while race relations had improved since a 1999 report accused the force of institutional racism, there had been a recent deterioration in attitudes.

Citing a need to "root out the bad boy cops", he said race relations had dropped down the agenda.

But he said the issue had been raised yearly by youths on the NBPA's community engagement programme.

"Every year since 2001, the young people have been saying how they believe they are being dealt with disrespectfully, not shown enough dignity, casual racist comments were being used," he said.

"We were telling the Met Police, some two or three commissioners back, this is what is coming up.

"But like so many things, it lands on deaf ears until such a time as a free press - the media - get hold of it and forces people into action."

Meanwhile, it was reported that a dossier, compiled by former Met commander Brian Paddick in 2004, warned police chiefs that they needed to take tougher action to stop officers discriminating against black people.

The report, obtained by the Guardian, said that innocent African-Caribbean people were being targeted too often under stop and search powers by officers who were wrongly racially stereotyping them as criminals.

It added that if stop and search continued to be used excessively against ethnic minority communities it would lead to "continued and accelerating discontent amongst minority communities and the danger of alienating significant sections of society".

Scotland Yard said it could not comment on the report due to its age and added: "The Metropolitan police service however has a history of welcoming internal and external discussion papers on stop and search, from academics, research bodies and serving officers, in order to inform the debate on stop and search. In consequence, the MPS is constantly adapting and evolving its stop-and-search policies"

In total, eight officers and one member of staff at the Yard have been suspended.

Pc Alex MacFarlane has been temporarily stripped of his duties 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 emerged that another officer, reportedly with Pc MacFarlane when Mr Demetrio was abused, was also placed on restricted duties after allegedly being seen kicking a 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 it apparently recorded on CCTV.

The Met is now working with the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to investigate the string of allegations which include the bullying of PCSOs by a number of police officers and staff over an 18-month period in Wandsworth; an assault involving five officers from the Territorial Support Group against several youngsters in Hyde Park last year; and racist language by a Pc working in Westminster and by another Pc in Islington.

Met Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey has warned there could be further referrals to the watchdog.

Elsewhere, four police officers have been temporarily stripped of their duties in Northern Ireland following the discovery of racist and sectarian text messages.

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