Race group members quit over ‘loss of independence’

Four black members of the Metropolitan police force’s
independent advisory group on race relations have resigned over concerns that
their role has become purely cosmetic.

The independent advisory group was set up by the Met as part
of its strategy to tackle its failings on race highlighted by the Macpherson
Report into the Stephen Lawrence murder.

In a resignation letter, the four said the IAG has become
controlled by the police and has lost its independence and credibility.

They were also unhappy over a claim by the Met that group
members have reviewed the case of Ali Dizaei, one of the force’s top ethnic
minority officers, who was suspended last month over allegations of misconduct.
They say they were unaware of the IAG’s involvement until they read about it in
newspaper reports.

The IAG, which was originally billed as being made up of the
some of the Met’s sternest critics, advises the force on internal as well as
external race relations.

A Met spokesman said the force is sad that four of the IAG’s
original members have thought it necessary to resign.

He said, “They have always been among the greatest advocates
of the IAG’s assertion of the need to initiate, not merely validate, policy,
procedures and working practices.

“We are confident the remaining members of the group and the
eight new members who joined yesterday will continue to challenge and provide
constructive criticism of policing in London.”

“To have a continually smooth relationship with all IAG
members would be impossible if their independence is to be maintained.”

By Ben Willmott

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