WHITE POLICE OFFICERS CLAIM RACE DISCRIMINATION
Six white police officers have accused the Metropolitan Police Service of racial discrimination at an employment tribunal.
The officers – members of Scotland Yard’s Territorial Support Group – were cleared of racially aggravated assault in a criminal court case two years ago.
But while the Met did not pursue internal disciplinary proceedings following their acquittal, the officers claim they were subsequently sidelined or demoted by the force.
The tribunal case relates to an incident in June 2007, when the six male officers were accused of racially abusing three teenagers of Arab background while on patrol in a police van.
One of the group, PC Mark Jones, was accused of mouthing obscenities at the youths, then allegedly swearing and kicking one teenager and walking over another as he lay handcuffed on the floor of the vehicle.
Another office was charged with threatening behaviour, while the other four were alleged to have covered up the episode.
The case went to trial after a seventh member of the unit, black officer PC Amechi Onwugbonum, made a formal complaint and gave evidence against his colleagues.
PC Jones and the other five officers, Sergeant William Wilson, PC Steven White, PC Giles Kitchener, PC Simon Prout and PC Neil Brown, were cleared at the trial at Kingston Crown Court in the autumn of 2009.
Sergeant Wilson – who has since retired after 30 years’ service – has spoken out for the first time about his tribunal claim, and said that the group were victims of “political correctness gone mad”.
He explained that the force acted unfairly towards the officers in reaction to being labelled “institutionally racist” by the 1999 Macpherson Inquiry into the killing of Stephen Lawrence.
“I am convinced that there was a panic,” Mr Wilson told the BBC. “It was a black officer making an allegation against six white officers. If it had been a white officer making that allegation, then the matter would have been dealt with in-house there and then.”
“I retired after thirty years and wasn’t spoken to by anybody in any senior position,” he added. “I feel nothing more than contempt [for the Met]. I feel very angry, very upset about the way I’ve been dealt with.”
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) said the force would defend the racial discrimination claims. A spokesman said: “MPS is committed to ensuring that any allegations of wrongdoing by officers or staff are investigated fairly and proportionately no matter who makes the allegation or against whom it is made.
“The employment tribunal claim is stayed pending the conclusion of the independent IPCC investigation; this is outside the control of the MPS.”
Wilson and the other five officers in the case still face a separate legal action by the youths who made the original allegation of assault.
PC Jones is currently on restricted duties due to an unrelated complaint, while the other four officers have returned to front-line duties.