Race claims against the police

MQT on 2014-07-23
Session date: 
July 23, 2014
Question By: 
Andrew Dismore
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


I first raised race claims against the police by way of a mayor's question in February 2013. Despite repeated questions and correspondence, it has taken until June 2014 to get satisfactory answers as to how many claims, how much was paid in compensation, and to establish that just 1 of the 66 successful cases in the previous 3 years resulted in any disciplinary action whatsoever, and this was the equivalent of a mild ticking off.

Do you consider it satisfactory that I should have had to be so persistent and waited so long to get to the bottom of the story? What is your explanation for this? And what do you think this says about the Met's approach to racism in the police?


Answer for Race claims against the police

Answer for Race claims against the police

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Thank you, Andrew.  You did ask a series of questions and I agree with you that it did take too long to answer.  That was not because of any reluctance on behalf of MOPAC to get details to you but it did involve an awful lot of collating bits of paper, some of which were stored in Derbyshire in salt mines or some inaccessible place, and it did take a long time.  Deputy Assistant Commissioner Fiona Taylor [Metropolitan Police Service] wrote to you on 9 June providing all the details that you wanted, and you did ask a great many questions and I hope that the answer was illuminating.


You asked a series of questions about how many cases there had been involving racial discrimination and we were able to show that there were 34 such cases and that the cost of settling the cases was £179,000.78.  The cost of answering your questions, by the way, was about £1 million, so that may give you some ‑‑


Andrew Dismore AM:  In fact, Mr Mayor, that is not quite true, not the £1 million.  I am sure it was not £1 million.  Mr Mayor, there were, in fact, 34 internal cases which cost just over £196,000 to settle.  There were 33 involving the public which cost £469,000 to settle.  There were a total of 67 cases.  Total compensation was just a whisker short of £666,000.  The key problem here was that only one - only one - resulted in any disciplinary action at all and that was just a first written warning, no more than a slap on the wrist.


What I was going to ask you was this and I am going to ask this question again.  At Mayor’s Question Time for the year 2013/14, which has just finished, so you know it is coming, how long do you think I am going to have to wait for an answer in September?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Sorry, what is the question?


Andrew Dismore AM:  I am going to ask you the same question again.  For 2013/14 how many cases have there been?  How much has been spent in compensation?  How many have been subject to disciplinary action?  How long do you think it is going to take me to get an answer bearing in mind you know about the question coming now.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I hope we will be able to get an answer as fast as possible.  As far as I can make out, you asked 219 on policing last year alone, 21% of all the questions asked by the Assembly all together.  We have done our best to satisfy you on all the questions that you have posed and you have had quite a full answer about the Employment Tribunal cases.  I do not know what conclusions you have been able to draw about ‑‑


Andrew Dismore AM:  The conclusion I have drawn is that the MPS does not take race issues very seriously if only one has resulted in disciplinary action.  You had 67 cases; you paid out £66,000.  If you are telling me you cannot say what the numbers are going to be ‑‑


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  That is completely unfair.  You are saying ‑‑


Andrew Dismore AM:  ‑‑ for 2013/14, then it is a pretty poor show.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  That is extremely unfair on the MPS.  The MPS takes racism extremely seriously and they stamp it out wherever they possibly can.  I reject that but you have had the data that you sought; it has cost a considerable amount to produce it.  I do not believe for a second that you can draw that conclusion.  I was told yesterday in my briefing that it cost about £1 million.  These are a very considerable number of questions.


Andrew Dismore AM:  That is ridiculous.


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  Are we finished with this question?


Andrew Dismore AM:  That is absolute rubbish.