Met race claim victims 'made to suffer', says retiring officer
Published: 9th May 2012 14:17:40
One of the first officers to win a discrimination case against the Metropolitan Police has said that racism continues to be a major problem within the force.
Det Sgt Gurpal Virdi, 53, who is retiring after 30 years, said not enough was being done to stamp it out and called for police chiefs to offer more support to victims.
Black and Asian staff who complain of harassment often find themselves treated as the perpetrators or viewed as troublemakers, he claimed.
Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe has vowed to root out racism.
Last month Mr Hogan-Howe told the Home Affairs Select Committee: "I condemn any racist in the Met... and I will drive them out."
His comments came as the Independent Police Complaints Commission investigated 11 cases of alleged racism involving 19 officers and one member of staff.
Mr Virdi was sacked in 2000 after being wrongly accused of sending racist hate mail to black and Asian colleagues.
We only have 9% of ethnic minority officers, yet the population of London is 40% ethnic”
But he was reinstated after winning a case against the Met later that year.
It was seen as a landmark case which exposed for the first time the problems faced by ethnic minority officers.
But Mr Virdi said the lessons had still not been learnt.
"Instead of making the victim suffer, the suspect needs to be suspended," he said.
"He needs to disciplined."
"The problem is that the Met surrounds the suspect and protects them with legal jargon or legal department, which is the wrong way of doing it," he added.
He said he was speaking out now because he cared about the police and the communities it served.
He said the biggest problem black and Asian staff faced was being overlooked for promotion, which had left many of them feeling demoralised.
They could come up against problems like "not being granted courses, not being promoted, not being [made] part of a team".
Mr Virdi, who does support and advisory work on race issues with various staff associations, said the police could find it hard to hold on to ethnic minority staff until these problems were addressed.
He said: "We only have 9% of ethnic minority officers, yet the population of London is 40% ethnic.
"That's a drastic difference," he said.
Mr Virdi believes the current commissioner genuinely wants to improve things.
But he added that someone needed to "get a grip" on the situation, where "past commissioners have failed".
The Met has not responded to requests for a comment.
At 00:59:22 in PoliticsA "badly managed" Home Office scheme resulted in asylum seekers being placed in "unacceptably poor" housing, the Public Accounts Committee has said.
At 00:48:17 in HeadlinesSouth Sudan's President Salva Kiir has sacked the head of the army.
At 00:39:06 in EnglandThe decline of some regional English dialects has been mourned for years but now sign language is being hit by the same trend. Researchers say regional variations that produced 22 different ways of signing the word "purple" are dying out.
At 00:29:16 in HeadlinesFormula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is set to appear at the start of a trial on bribery charges in Munich.
At 00:16:58 in BusinessEnergy grids across the world are struggling to cope with a surge in demand for electricity and increasingly volatile supply from renewable power sources.
At 00:11:50 in SportEighteen-time US Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps says concerns about weight gain were behind his decision to return to the sport.
At 00:09:32 in BusinessBeckford's Tower stands proudly on the hills overlooking the spa city of Bath, a monument to eccentricity and wealth.
At 00:01:40 in TechnologyDrones are becoming more common in our skies, performing a variety of tasks, from taking photos to monitoring crops and potentially even delivering broadband.
At 00:01:37 in HeadlinesBritish counter-terrorism police chiefs are making an unprecedented appeal to Muslim women to urge men against travelling to possibly fight in Syria.
At 23:52:22 in SportA turbulent three days for Manchester United has ended with them fending off allegations of unprofessionalism labelled against them by the League Managers Association (LMA).
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Met race claim victims 'made to suffer', says retiring officer [Online] (Updated 9th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1427422/Met-race-claim-victims-made-to-suffer-says-retiring-officer [Accessed 24th Apr 2014]
News In Other Categories
The Irish education minister has proposed a radical shake-up of the further education sector.
US actress Jodie Foster has married her girlfriend, Alexandra Hedison, the actress' representative confirms.
The cost of drugs is in the headlines following the decision by NHS watchdog NICE that a new cancer treatment should not be funded.
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir has sacked the head of the army.
Police in Orkney have confirmed that the number two Churchill Barrier remains closed following a fatal road accident.
The decline of some regional English dialects has been mourned for years but now sign language is being hit by the same trend. Researchers say regional variations that produced 22 different ways of signing the word "purple" are dying out.