Met Police crisis: Black ex-officer reveals colleagues painted his face with white polish for ‘banter’

Gamal Turawa, who was the first openly gay black officer in the force, spoke out following Dame Cressida Dick’s shock exit as commissioner following a recent string of scandals.

A black former Met Police officer, whose colleagues painted his face with white shoe polish in the “guise of banter”, has told of how racist abuse left him suicidal.

Gamal Turawa, who was the first openly gay black officer in the force, spoke out following Dame Cressida Dick’s shock exit as commissioner following a recent string of scandals.

Gamal Turawa appeared on Good Morning Britain to discuss his film The Black Cop. Photo: ITV/The Black Cop

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Speaking on Wednesday, February 16, he told presenters on Good Morning Britain about the shoe polish incident, which occurred shortly after his arrival at a police training college.

Fellow recruits entered his room, Mr Turawa said, and covered his face with the substance.

He laughed along with them - even posing for a photo - as he saw the incident as “banter”.

Gamal Turawa, the first openly gay black Met Police officer. Photo: ITV

The officer, who later served as a diversity and inclusion trainer, and met prime minister Tony Blair at Scotland Yard in 2000, never reported the incident as he felt he was “complicit”.

He told presenters Richard Madeley and Charlotte Hawkings: “At the time I felt like that’s what I needed to do to fit in. You did it unconsciously - or I did it unconsciously.

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“There are a lot of good officers in the job but the bad officers are the ones bringing us to talk about the problems that are going on.

“It is definitely still happening today. The IOPC report that came out a few weeks ago proved that.”

Mr Turawa later suffered a breakdown in the early 2000s after complaining about a superior.

Mr Turawa has urged the Met to tackle it culture. Photo: ITV/The Black Cop

He said the investigating officer asked: “Do you really think this is going to go anywhere?”

Also struggling to cope with keeping his sexuality secret, he ended up writing a suicide note.

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After three months off work, he returned - now openly gay - and has helped to educate police officers and other organisations since retiring.

In the documentary, the Met Police said: "This is not the same Met as it was 20 years ago.”

And the force told Sky News: “There is no place for discrimination or prejudice in the Met. Racism, homophobia, sexism, or any type of hate or disrespect, will not be tolerated.

"We recognise that there is need for real change in the organisation.

"We are working harder than ever before to improve our culture and professional standards.”

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The Black Cop documentary can be viewed here.

If you need support with suicidal thoughts, contact the free Samaritans helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on 116 123 or email [email protected] from anywhere in the UK.