RACIAL DISCRIMINATION CASE AGAINST THE MET POLICE
A senior Scotland Yard officer has filed a claim of racial discrimination against the Metropolitan Police.
Commander Ali Dizaei, the president of the National Black Police Association, accuses former commissioner Sir Ian Blair and the Met’s chief executive Catherine Crawford of colluding to suspend him from duty. He was suspended in September after being accused of misconduct.
Chairman of the Metropolitan Black Police Association Alfred John confirmed the claim that papers had been served at the Employment Tribunal Office at Victory House, Kingsway, central London.
Mr Dizaei was previously suspended in 2001 after allegations of corruption and drug use were made.
He was cleared of the charges in 2003 and reinstated and awarded £60,000 compensation.
He claims one of the reasons he was suspended was to prevent him representing his colleague Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, who last month agreed an out-of-court settlement in his race claim against Scotland Yard.
Speaking from Scotland Yard on Wednesday morning, Mr John said: “From the BPA’s perspective, the claim’s about a disparity between what’s taken place in the run up to Commander Dizaei’s suspension and how other ACPO, high ranking officers, who have gone through similar issues, have been dealt with.
“Why haven’t those white, similar officers been suspended as well?
“I’m not saying they are guilty, but the process is inconsistent.”
He added: “It really is quite indicative of how black staff within the organisation are dealt with in disciplinary issues.”
Ali Dizaer – Profile
Ali Dizaei was well aware of his notoriety as he joked that he put on his stab vest when he went into Scotland Yard.
Flamboyant and controversial, the Iranian-born Muslim bodybuilder has been spied on, bugged, and then wrongly accused and charged – all by his own colleagues.
Early on in his career, Dizaei was singled out as one of the Metropolitan police’s fastest-rising young officers, tipped to become the first ethnic minority commissioner.
He was born in Tehran in 1962 to a family with a long history of police work. His grandfather had been an assistant commissioner, while his father was head of the traffic police and his uncles were also in the force.
His father believed that his son needed a British education to succeed and sent him to a boarding school in Sussex. Then he studied law at London’s City University.
Dizaei joined Thames Valley police in 1986 and in spite of racial harassment in his early years as an officer he found time to study for an MA and then a doctorate.
He joined the Metropolitan police as a superintendent in March 1999 – the year it was found guilty of institutional racism after the inquiry into police handling of the murder of Stephen Lawrence.
Dizaei was vice-chairman of the National Black Police Officers Association (NBPA) at the time.
But Dizaei was himself secretly suspected of a string of allegations and in 1999 and 2000 became the subject of what was to become the most expensive inquiry into a single officer.
Colleagues investigated him under the codename Helios over allegations of corruption, using drugs and prostitutes, and spying for Iran – all charges which were later dropped. In 2001 he was suspended.
The Metropolitan police said the investigation cost the taxpayer £2.2m. Dizaei argued the figure was more like £7m.
The Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, later apologised for the inquiry, saying it had caused “considerable damage” within the force.
During the course of the investigation against Dizaei it emerged that he was intensely disliked by some of his more conservative colleagues who thought his sunglasses and cowboy boots were “flash”. His self-confessed open marriage, love of designer clothes and nightclubs also attracted adverse attention.
In 2003 he was cleared of perverting the course of justice, misconduct in public office and making false expense claims – leading to renewed claims that the Metropolitan police had failed to stamp out racism.
Dizaei was reinstated and awarded £60,000 compensation. Speaking after the last of the charges were dropped, Dizaei said he believed there had been a campaign by individuals to “destroy my life and my career”.
But there was more controversy to come.
In 2006, he was criticised for attacking the Forest Gate anti-terror raid on two Muslim brothers and for questioning the need for passenger profiling on aircraft.
The following year he angered his superiors even more as he singled colleagues out for blame in his Not One Of Us, which told the story of Operation Helios.
Earlier this year Dizaei was promoted from chief superintendent to commander, entitling him to join the Association of Chief Police Officers. It was his fourth attempt to become a chief officer.
More recently, in his role as president of the Metropolitan Black Police Association, Dizaei has become a close confidante of assistant commissioner Tarique Ghaffur who is taking the force to an employment tribunal over claims of racial discrimination, and is currently on gardening leave.
Dizaei was privy to closely-guarded details of Ghaffur’s dossier of alleged racism and discrimination.
Reports have said his latest suspension comes amid allegations he advised a defence team on how to undermine a criminal case brought by his employer. He is said to deny the claims completely.