London‘s Metropolitan Police are investigating whether 20 of its police officers and a civilian staff member are guilty of racism, the Guardian reports. The Guardian also published a recording from a black man in police custody where an officer allegedly uses a racial slur towards him.
Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey said on Thursday that the allegations are being treated as a serious matter. “I want to reiterate – there is no room for racism in the Met,” said Mackey. The “Met” is a common shortened name for the London police force. This week, seven complaints of racism were filed with Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), adding to three other pending cases under review. Racism charges have dogged the Met in the past, but a recent article from British daily newspaper the Guardian has reignited the debate.
An older case involving the murder of a black teenager over 20 years gave the department a dubious distinction of being known as “institutionally racist” and the Met worked to correct the issue. According to the Associated Press, a commissioned report conducted in the wake of the teenager’s death concluded “that Scotland Yard was “institutionally racist” and had failed to properly investigate the killing because of its hostility to London’s black community.”
The most recent claims stem from a rash of reports of racism, including an arrest that took place at the London riots last year. Another case involved three suspended officers over concerns they made a series of racist comments.
The Met was slow to act on some of the cases, despite the IPCC and their reassurances that measures were taken to discipline the accused officers. The National Black Police Association spoke against the inaction from the Met to suspend some officers by saying in a statement that they were, “deeply concerned that this issue undermines efforts to build and maintain trust and confidence of communities grappling with the impact of serious violent crime and escalating hate crimes.”
Commissioner Mackey said that other officers have come forth to support the public claims of racist behavior, firmly asserting that the Met and the IPCC will work in tandem. “The Met does not tolerate racism,” Mackey said.