Black Officers to Begin Recruitment Boycott at Met

Rebellion following Blair's resignation could see officers placing adverts urging ethnic minorities not to apply

The crisis at Scotland Yard will worsen tomorrow as black officers begin a boycott of their own force.

The Guardian understands the open rebellion could see black officers placing newspaper adverts urging ethnic minority people not to apply to join the Metropolitan police.

Britain's biggest force is still reeling after its commissioner Sir Ian Blair was ousted from office by London Mayor Boris Johnson following a series of controversies.

One of those was a bitter race row which has led to the suspension of the Met's two most senior ethnic minority officers.

Assistant commissioner Tarique Ghaffur was suspended after he began to sue the force for racism and publicly denounced Blair as a racist. One of his main advisers, Commander Ali Dizaei was suspended over alleged misconduct and both senior officers are under investigation.

The decision to begin a boycott was made by the Metropolitan Black Police Association. Despite Sir Ian Blair announcing his resignation BPA chiefs believe discrimination is institutionalised in Scotland Yard's leadership.

In a statement the Met BPA said that as of tomorrow it would " … totally boycott all recruitment drives initiated by the Metropolitan Police Service to attract black and ethnic minority recruits and police staff.

"We will actively discourage (through our extensive community network) potential applicants from applying to join the Metropolitan Police."

The Met BPA said the force was plagued by "a hostile atmosphere where racism is allowed to spread and those who challenge it are either suspended, told to shut up or subtly held back in relation to career development."

Alfred John, chair of the Met BPA said the boycott was still needed despite the announcement of the commissioner's departure: "We're not going to stop because Ian Blair has gone. It is about the institutional racism that takes place in the organisation."

The race row has been buffeting the Met for months and began in the summer after it emerged Ghaffur was considering suing the force for racial and religious discrimination.

He formally issued employment tribunal proceedings then held a press conference where he professed his love of British policing and denounced Sir Ian Blair.

The force and the Metropolitan Police Authority insist that press conference led to the suspension from duty of Ghaffur, who was joint third in charge of the Met and part of its inner cabinet. His key adviser was Ali Dizaei who chairs the national Black Police Association who was suspended over separate misconduct allegations, which he denies.

In 2003 black officers began a boycott which was only ended after the Home Office stepped in and pressured the Met's leadership to reach a deal.

BPA leaders say the force has made too little progress since the 1999 Macpherson report found British policing was institutionally racist.

Tomorrow the Metropolitan Police Authority meets with mayor Boris Johnson installed as its chair.

Today he continued to have to defend his ousting of the Met commissioner. Johnson said the move had not set a constitutional precedent and told the BBC that there were "too many distractions" preventing Sir Ian from doing his job and that it was time for a change. Johnson refused to answer why he had reached that view.

Blair quit blaming the Mayor's declaration that he thought the commissioner should stand down at a private meeting on Wednesday.

 
 

 

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