The Metropolitan Police faces a new inquiry into discrimination in its ranks, ten years after it was accused of institutional racism in the report into the murder of Stephen Lawrence.And we all remember what a stunning success the first one was….
The Race and Faith Inquiry opens tomorrow to examine why black and ethnic minority officers are more likely to leave the force and are less successful in gaining promotion than their white counterparts.That clucking sound you hear? Chickens coming home to roost.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, set up the inquiry in response to a series of high-profile race disputes that undermined the leadership of Sir Ian Blair as Commissioner of the Met.
Because look who’s appearing:
Tarique Ghaffur, a former assistant commissioner who received a £300,000 payoff after accusing Sir Ian of discrimination, will be the first witness. His testimony, which he will be allowed to give in secret, comes at a time when the Met is trying to make a fresh start under Sir Paul Stephenson. The race inquiry also coincides with the Runnymede Trust’s review of the police service’s progress in tackling racism since Sir William Macpherson published his report into the death of Mr Lawrence.Doesn’t Ghaffur have some history with the new Met top man?
Why, indeed he does:
Mr Ghaffur was Britain’s highest-ranking Asian police officer when he accused Sir Ian of racism. He said that his case was “to do with my treatment at the highest levels of the Met, in particular discrimination by the Commissioner”. Sir Paul, then Deputy Commissioner, responded tersely: “I think it is long past time that we all shut up, stop making public statements about private disputes and get on with the job we are paid to do.”Ooooh, regretting that comment now, Sir Paul?
Mr Ghaffur then accused Sir Paul of intimidation and said that he was “extremely concerned for my personal safety”. He settled his claim in November after withdrawing his allegations against Sir Ian and agreeing to a confidentiality clause.Which presumably won’t apply to his evidence to the inquiry, hence the reason for it to be held in secret?
The Runnymede Trust report contradicted the argument by Trevor Phillips, head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, that the police could no longer be accused of institutional racism. It said that the service had difficulty in recruiting, retaining and progressing officers from black and Asian communities.Perhaps because, in an effort to concentrate on numbers, they haven’t considered the quality of their recruits?