With 10 cases involving 20 officers referred or re-referred to the ludicrous IPCC can’t the Met catch on? It’s OK for a black MP to slur all white people, but not one white person must … blah, blah. We know racism is crap and we know no one is really free from it if we read up on the subject. We accept rape is wrong and yet the conviction rate is very low. This is largely because most of the evidence is dubious, with all parties often drunk, stoned or both. Solomon would have trouble! The same, of course, is true of claims of racial abuse – often coming from people already discredited by being in police custody and it being so easy to make false claims without much comeback. Black officers, I seem to remember, are as much as four times more likely to be subject to complaint procedures.
The problem here is that police complaints systems don’t work and are massively prejudiced in investigation and the law. Cases that get to court follow familiar patterns of taking a very long time and of detailed histories of previous complaints against officers being ruled out as evidence whilst complainants (even if police officers) have their motives and credibility impugned.
Even if the IPCC was any use, referring such matters to them wouldn’t help. This is a cultural matter requiring strong leadership beyond words in the supervision system and an openness that can’t be other than deterred by criminal investigation. On the basis of the kind of “research” the IPCC has bought so far, it would poll the whole population on whether police are racist or not when what’s needed is research in the relevant population done by people who can establish trust.
Even the tape recording I’ve heard on television and at the Guardian is not evidence of racism and I’d acquit if that’s all to be found, despite being profoundly anti-racist. I heard the same advice being given by a black nurse to black hooligans more than 30 years ago,though that was issued in more strident form. Racism was chronic in the Met back then and they were in denial about it. All sides in this need to let some independent researchers in so the matter can be brought properly out into the open. My guess is their are faults on all sides.
Half all young black lads are unemployed against a 25 – 30% average. It’s common to hear this is because they are a lazy bunch and the rest, as it’s common to hear that Asians are bleeding welfare dry and so on. Crap gossip like this comes about because we so rarely bother to make the truth on any subject easy to access. Ethnic minorities are generally present in our prisons in disproportionate number. Some say this is due to racist treatment, but it could as easily be disproportionate engagement in crime.
It is easy to stop your people using words like ‘nigger’ – just sack a few who do. Works wonders, does a little of such medicine. It won’t change any attitudes other than those about not being loose-lipped. I’d like to see the Met engage some researchers prepared to get out in relevant areas with cameras and able to talk in confidence to police officers and the relevant population and make sense of relevant figures and some participant observation. I suspect their are home truths the Met, our ‘ethnic’populations and the rest of us need to learn and that incompetence is at the heart of all this. The current situation must be making all officers wary of dealing with BEMs and that can’t help.
The IPCC should get on with more important matters like the buried SOCA report on corruption.