IPCC to handle all MPS racism complaints

All complaints of racism against Metropolitan Police officers will be automatically referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

The police watchdog said it will “undertake a thematic review” of the cases to identify any trends.

The move comes as five Met officers are under investigation over racism allegations.

On 12th August 2011 an allegation of racist language and assault against a 21-year-old man by MPS officers was referred to the IPCC.

On 24th August 2011 IPPC received a referral regarding a 15-year-old youth who was allegedly assaulted by MPS officers at Forest Gate police station. The CPS is currently reviewing both of these investigations.

On 5th April 2012, an independent investigation commenced into allegations that racist comments were made within a group of MPS officers.

A further six cases referred last week involve matters that have been investigated by the MPS or the investigation is at an advanced stage. These referrals were made late when IPCC could not longer carry out meaningful investigations.

The IPCC therefore expects the MPS to conclude those investigations and be informed of the outcome in order to assess whether robust and appropriate action has been taken.

The IPCC said it shared the public concerns generated by these referrals, and as a result, now plan to closely scrutinise how the MPS is handling racism complaints.

“We want to be satisfied that these cases are being dealt with effectively and in line with our previously-released guidance on handling allegations of discriminatory behaviour and our position on stop and search,” IPPC said.

Commissioner Mike Franklin, who assessed the MPS referrals and has overall responsibility for the five current independent investigations, said: “Responsibility for tackling racism in the police and for most complaints about racism by police officers rests squarely with the police, who must demonstrate that they are not being passive and are taking action to root it out. However in view of these referrals the IPCC is increasing its level of scrutiny over these cases.”

He urged the police not hide behind statistics but to recognise “that actual recorded allegations of racism are probably an indication of much wider disaffection and dissatisfaction.”

He said that young black men who are most likely to be stopped and searched are least likely to use the formal complaints system. “At the heart of people’s concerns are issues of fairness and respect – the British policing model which relies on policing by consent simply cannot deliver a professional service if sections of the population perceive it to be unfair and discriminatory,” Commissioner Franklin said.

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