Met Police crisis: Black officer tells Newsnight he was called ‘monkey’ by supervisor
One male officer, who was not identified in the BBC Newsnight report, said: “People have made comments calling me a drug dealer or part of a gang. I’ve had a supervisor refer to me as a monkey.”
A top Met chief has admitted the force has a racism problem, as black officers tell of “derogatory” comments and say prejudice is worsening.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Bas Javid, who leads the force’s ethics command said there are some officers “who have racist views and are racist”.
It comes after a string of racism, sexism and discrimination scandals which forced Met commissioner Dame Cressida Dick to quit after losing the confidence of mayor Sadiq Khan.
Her shock exit came just hours after a defiant interview with BBC Radio London which saw her fight for her job, and followed a series of crises involving the force, including:
- Criticism from the family of Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered in a racist attack in south London in 1993, of Dame Cressida’s reappointment for four years in 2021.
- Sarah Everard’s rape and murder by serving police officer Wayne Couzens, and the subsequent controversy around the policing of the Clapham Common vigil.
- Two officers being jailed for taking and sending photos of the bodies of murdered sisters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, who they referred to as “dead birds”.
- A finding of “institutional corruption” and a personal censure for Dame Cressida for obstructing inquiries in the Daniel Morgan report published in June 2021.
- Extensive investigative failings which “probably contributed” to further deaths revealed at the inquests into Stephen Port’s victims.
- The highest-ever number of teenage boys killed by stabbings and rising knife crime.
- A commander sacked from the Met for calling a pregnant colleague a “f***ing nutter”.
- An apology and payout to Dr Konstancja Duff after officers made misogynistic “derogatory” remarks during a strip search after she refused to give her name.
- A shock watchdog report into Charing Cross police station which found officers joked about raping and beating women and killing black children in vile WhatsApp texts, followed by fresh allegations of officers having sex with suspects made by a former officer.
- And a payout of almost £230,000 to environmental activist Kate Wilson following the spycops scandal which saw women deceived into relationships with officers.
But DAC Javid, who is the brother of health secretary Sajid Javid, denied the organisation as a whole was racist.
Two black Met Police officers told BBC’s Newsnight they had faced “immediate prejudice” on joining up.
One male officer, who was not identified in the report, said: “People have made comments calling me a drug dealer or part of a gang. This is all disguised as banter but it’s harmful.
“I’ve had a supervisor refer to me as a monkey.
“This is one of the most derogatory terms that someone could ever refer to you as a black person. It’s hurtful and disgusting.
“This is a term used in the 1950s, the 1960s and 1970s. You wouldn’t expect it to be used in 2022 when the world is so diverse and we’re trying to move away from terms like that.”
And he told interviewer Sima Kotecha that issues of racism “have got worse” and the “boys’ club ethos” was a problem “Met-wide”.
He said: “I’ve seen colleagues be victims of derogatory behaviours and I’m yet to see adequate sanction.
“Colleagues who express prejudice should be dismissed - they shouldn’t be offered any training or management action.
“As a police officer, you’re aware that homophobia, racism, misogyny and sexism are wrong.
“You’re aware that it’s a crime.”
While a senior female black police officer, who was also kept anonymous, said her work was a “rewarding career but traumatic”.
She told Ms Kotecha, Newsnight’s UK editor, that black and Asian people are not joining the Met.
“Senior leaders have said it’s because they’re not clever enough to join the police,” she said.
“But they don’t want to join because of the way they are treated - why should they?”
She added that Dame Cressida’s replacement should be an “outsider”, adding: “You need a real reformer who understands the complexity of policing.”
DCA Javid, who also appeared on the programme, said he was “extremely disappointed” by the allegations.
He said: “The Met Police stands for zero tolerance on any forms of discrimination. What I’d like to see is an organisation where people feel comfortable to come forward and report it so we can deal with it effectively.
“I’ve been a police officer for 28 years in three different police forces and it would be wrong for me to say I haven’t seen examples of racism.”
And he urged officers and Londoners to “judge me by my actions” and said he was doing “everything I can to root out racism and any form of discrimination”.
He added: “Look at the things I’ve done, particularly in London and in the command I lead.
“We’ve got case after case of misconduct and we exclude the officers or give them appropriate sanctions.”