The Metropolitan Police will face fresh racism claims that it ran an “apartheid culture” allowing white officers to ride in different vans from black colleagues at an employment tribunal this week.
The country’s largest police force has again been thrown into the spotlight after Muslim police community support officer Asad Saeed claimed white officers at Belgravia police station refused to allow black officers in their van, deliberately failed to send a van out to pick up ethnic minority colleagues, and made threats of violence against ethnic colleagues.
The allegations, which surfaced yesterday at a conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the Macpherson report into the ruined Stephen Lawrence murder investigation, forced Sir Paul Stephenson to rewrite a speech planned for the event, in which he was to describe his force as no longer “institutionally racist”.
Instead, in his first major speech since becoming Met commissioner, Stephenson included a passage in which he admitted that “pockets of stupidity and bigotry” continued to exist in the force and had to be eradicated.
Saeed lodged the legal papers with the tribunal in February 2007 against two white community support officers at Belgravia police station. Both have since resigned from the force after being charged with gross misconduct.
The Met will defend the claim of race discrimination at the tribunal, but declined to comment in detail ahead of the case.
A statement on the Met Police website, Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report – 10 years on, said: “While much has been achieved in the past decade, we are not complacent and recognise there is still much more to do. We owe that to the memory of Stephen Lawrence.”