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Is Racism Out of Control at the Metropolitan Police Authority?

MPA Chair - Kit Malthouse

The Metropolitan Police Service have yet again paid out to a black officer who alleged that he was victimised as a consequence of writing a damming report on the culture of racism in the MPS.

Superintendent Paul Wilson had complained that senior officers are targeted him after he wrote a scathing report for the Race and Faith Inquiry established by Mayor of London Boris Johnson in October 2008. The Inquiry was launched to report on the failure of the MPS and the MPA to promote Black and Asian officers. Wilson who lodged an Employment Tribunal compliant a reached an out of court settlement with the MPS.

The Metropolitan Police Authority, whose chair is London Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse, has been accused of seeking to whitewash the race inquiry chaired by the much respected MPA member Cindy Butts.

After a high profile media launch two years ago the report was initially scheduled to be published in July 2009. However both the Panel and draft report have been dogged by controversy with accusations that Boris Johnson and the current Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson have both decided that report cannot be published.

It is believed that Boris Johnson in January of this year ordered his Deputy Kit Malthouse and Chair to completely rewrite the entire report. A bitter struggle then ensued with the Panel Inquiry members battling against the Mayors Office to retain independent editorial control of the explosive report.

Panel member Bob Purkiss, a former Commissioner for the now defunct Commission for Race Equality and a hugely respected figure in black communities decided that enough was enough. He resigned in February this year stating that:

“The report was supposed to be written by the panel. Kit Malthouse decided it would not be written by them. If you have an inquiry into the Metropolitan police service and MPA, nobody in the MPS or MPA should be writing the final report.”

He added:

“It damages the credibility of the inquiry. In all the inquiries I’ve done, it’s never been done this way, where one of the organisations being investigated gets to write the final report.”

According to a senior source close to the inquiry the report identifies an environment where black officers seeking promotion face an  “unremitting wall of racism” describing a “culture akin to apartheid among MPS promotion boards.”

Lee Jasper, Policy Director for Policing for the former Mayor Ken Livingstone, commentating on inquiry stated:

“This Inquiry report is now completely discredited. Boris Johnson has virtually dismissed the in name only ‘independent Panel’ .The panel’s impotence in the face of such naked political interference is evident for all to see.”

Jasper added

“The resignation of someone with the professionalism and integrity of Bob Purkiss speaks volumes about the poisonous relationship that now exists between the Panel members, the MPA and the Mayors Office.”

“That Supt Paul Wilson, a first class officer has now been targeted after submitting critical evidence to the Inquiry taken together with the along resignation of Bob Purkiss and the refusal to publish a final report I think is clear evidence of a insidious and coordinated campaign conducted by the MPA an the Mayor’s office to silence black officers Panel members. The remaining panel members should resign immediately. This inquiry has lost all credibility.”

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