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Top cop is not the only one being found guilty

Ali Dizaei is being used by the media as a weapon to attack race equality

By Lester Holloway

It’s been difficult to work out who’s been found the most guilty, top cop Ali Dizaei who was sentenced yesterday – or the Black Police Association, whose main offence appears to be their name.

First of all, let us join the national wave of condemnation at the actions of Commander Dizaei, who yesterday was jailed for four years over an attempt to fit-up a web designer he had a dispute with.

Without prejudice to any appeal Dizaei might launch, the court result shows that Dizaei engaged in an indefensible abuse of power, a point made by the Met police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson.

But something else is happening here. The Metropolitan Black Police Association is itself coming under severe attack, although the charge sheet is a little unclear.

Dizaei’s former Met colleague Brian Paddick has accused the MBPA of “grandstanding”, and being “aggressive and confrontational.”

Paddick’s views entirely miss context of all the years up to the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, when the Met failed to recognise institutional racism; and the next ten years when there has been plenty of evidence about continuing serious problems; and the present day when Stephenson  declared that once again institutional racism no longer exists.

Missing, too, is the fact that the MBPA continues to assist a large number of its members who allege extremely serious cases of racial abuse and discrimination in the force.

And let’s not even get started on how every movement for race equality on either side of the Atlantic over the decades has been branded aggressive and confrontational.

Yesterday, the Conservative MP David Davies branded the BPA “racist” simply for existing. It was racist, he said, to have an association representing just one group of people.

Such addled logic fails to recognise that the BPA has a singular purpose: to eliminate racism from the force, so that all officers are treated equally regardless of their race. Calling for the BPA’s abolition is simply a demand for unfair outcomes to continue, and to deny the right of Black officers to organise themselves to speak for themselves.

Davies’s attack is a throwback from calls to abolish the Commission for Racial Equality during the 1980s and 90s, again on the basis that simply having a public organisation defending the rights of racial minorities is in itself somehow racist.

While any abuse of power Dizaei engaged in is deeply troubling, it is undeniable that the authorities have been ‘after’ him for some considerable time.

I only wish that the same degree of commitment and energy could have been applied to seeking out and prosecuting officers who ‘fitted up’ countless innocent members of the public for offences they did not commit.

It took twenty years to prosecute cops involved in the Cardiff Three case, and even that may not have happened if there hadn’t been a community justice campaign.

And what of all the deaths in custody? There has not been a single officer convicted of any offence whatsoever relating to the death of a black man since David Oluwale died in Leeds in 1969. Since then over 100 black men and women have died after coming into contact with the police.

Some of those deaths can be explained. But all of them? From Brian Douglas to Roger Sylvester to Mikey Powell to Christopher Alder to Sean Rigg, the list of cases where there are still many questions to answer is long and continues to grow. Where are the Paddick’s and Stephenson’s to raise concerns about these issues?

Some of the fury directed against Dizaei today for his misdeeds – and against the Black Police Association  simply for being Black – needs to extend not just to these custody deaths, but also to the everyday experience of far too many citizens who find themselves in court only to be cleared when police evidence is thrown out. That is the real scandal.


2 Responses

  1. i was previlaged to watch obv seminar on ben tv,this morning,don’t knw when it was held.[mean the month,year and where it was held.
    i was delited,liberated,encouraged,uplifted and empowered by the speeches of the guest speakers i listened to.
    would like to knw more about OBV,and how i can be a member.
    i live in newcastle,where alot of this things happen and i minorities can’t speak for themselves,exspecially the blacks[africans].am a member of labour party and i do attend some of there meetings whn am chanced.
    i hv put issues before the exco members concerning racial attack and the way it was being handdled by the police,and i was told it would be looked into,but nothing was done.
    me as a person i rise to any challenge .i stand for zero tollerance to discrimination or racism.
    i think we need some of this kind of motivational meetings or seminals to ginger or get us up from our slubber. look forward to hearing from you.

  2. Hi Anthony, you can register as an OBV supporter by clicking on the following link:


    You will then be informed by email of all upcoming events, projects, schemes and meetings.

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