The Metropolitan Police Force of the UK has in recent times faced allegations of corruption and systemic racism. Both do a disservice to the many members of the Force who work hard to keep Britons safe. Both, if true, must be addressed and removed. If this means removing the offending officers, so be it. In-house investigations into the allegations will not wash anymore. After all the latest speculation is that the racism of some member's of the Force impacted on the August 2011 UK riots.
It is not so long ago that the earlier deaths of Stephen Lawrence and Christopher Alder raised questions about racism in the UK police forces. Both men had been let down by UK police officers, albeit in different ways. For Stephen it was the investigation into his death and for Christopher it was his death at a Hull Police Station.
According to a report in the Independent London Mayoral candidate and former senior Met Officer, Brian Paddick, wrote a damning report back in 2004. He reportedly warned, "the force that it needed to take tougher action against racism or risk a breakdown in relations with ethnic minorities"
It does now seem that the writing was on the wall for some time. Other warnings and warning signs have been largely ignored. It is a credit to some serving officers that they have now taken their concerns to their commanders.
The Telegraph has also today, April 7, 2012, reported that 31-year-old PC Philip Juhasz , allegedly told a Pakistani worker that “you are wasting our food in this country” and exposed him to a barrage of expletives while off-duty and drunk." Off duty at the time and allegedly the worse for drink Juhasz it is claimed,"abused an Asian takeaway manager who refused to sell him half-priced food, telling him to “go back to your ****** country”" This officer now faces dismissal for gross misconduct after being convicted of a racially aggravated public order offense.
This incident though appears to be just the tip of the iceberg. There have been a string of racist allegations against the Met. Whilst some will no doubt be unfounded the figures are worrying. Only "two officers out of 2,270 accused of racist behaviour have been dismissed in the last seven years."
Even the two officers that were "sacked" in the end were allowed to resign and in so doing kept all their pension privileges. This story is now public property and as such it must surely finally be resolved in a proper manner. If it is not we are setting up a store of hate which in the future, sooner or later, will erupt.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog