Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Met Failing to Tackle Claims of Racism, Says Watchdog; Racism 'Is Still a Toxic Issue for Met'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Met Failing to Tackle Claims of Racism, Says Watchdog; Racism 'Is Still a Toxic Issue for Met'

Article excerpt

Byline: Martin Bentham Home Affairs Editor

THE Met is failing to tackle complaints of racism properly and needs a major "cultural change" to improve the way it deals with London's minorities, the police watchdog said today.

In a highly critical report, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said that Met investigators were often wrongly rejecting allegations of racism simply on the basis of an officer's denial.

It warns that other complaints are being thrown out because of the "unwillingness or inability" of officers to pursue them and highlights a further widespread failure to follow official guidelines when investigating alleged racist conduct.

The report said that, instead, the force tends to respond only to "overt" racism such as use of "n****r" and when other evidence such as mobile phone footage or whistleblower testimony is Continued on Page 4

Continued from Page 1 [bar][bar][bar]provided. The findings, which will raise concerns about the force's progress since being labelled "institutionally racist" in Sir William Macpherson's report following the murder of Stephen Lawrence, came as the watchdog also revealed details of new racism cases within the Met. Today's report discloses that: Two thirds of appeals over racism complaints rejected by the Met were upheld by the watchdog last year.

The Met has little understanding of covert or subconscious racism by officers.

Complainants' perceptions of racism are often not taken seriously.

Letters sent to complainants are regularly blighted by jargon, are defensive and fail to deal with specifics. Unveiling today's report, Deborah Glass, the IPCC's commissioner for London, said that racism remained a "toxic" issue for the Met and that big changes were urgently needed.

"There is an enormous amount of guidance out there which the Met's officers are not following and the only way to change that is through cultural change," she said. "If the Met Commissioner wants to be credible when he says that there is zero tolerance of racism in the force then his officers need to understand what racism is. …

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