Discrimination in the Met Police

MQT on 2016-11-16
Session date: 
November 16, 2016
Question By: 
Navin Shah
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Is it true that BAME, LGBT or female employees of the Met Police are mostly likely to be victimised if they raise complaints of discrimination within the force?


Answer for Discrimination in the Met Police

Answer for Discrimination in the Met Police

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Thanks for the question.  I know this is an issue you have campaigned on for many years, even before you were an Assembly Member.  Members will be aware that a recent investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found no evidence of unlawful acts in how the MPS responds to officers and staff with complaints linked to discrimination.  However, whilst there is no evidence, the perception of victimisation towards those who raise complaints is highly concerning.  No one should feel unfairly treated because of their gender, race or sexual orientation.  I operate a zero tolerance policy towards discrimination of any kind.


It is vital for both officer wellbeing and wider public confidence that individuals feel secure enough to raise grievances and my Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden, is actively overseeing the plan of the MPS to tackle these perceptions of victimisation.  There has been a strong commitment by the MPS to take action, demonstrated by commissioning and acting on their own independent Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) review and MOPAC will be working with the MPS to monitor how this work improves the situation.


Both the ACAS review and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report found that the Government’s regulatory framework for police misconduct presents significant challenges to the handling of grievance cases involving potential discrimination and MOPAC will work with the MPS and the Home Office to tackle these issues.


Navin Shah AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  My question arose from the EHRC report published in September 2016 this year where there were these concerns about discrimination and victimisation and fear of reprisals.  If it is perception, even then it is very serious, as you said.  I want that reassurance that the MPS will be taking the right action that even perception is driven out of the minds of those very officers who feel discriminated.


I want to move on to this issue about progression of the Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) officers.  At the last MQT, we talked about good news in terms of recruitment of BAME staff of the MPS.  It is slow but certainly in the right direction.  Retention and progression is equally important of the diverse police force we have.  The question is what is the MPS doing to look at progression issues in the MPS itself?  The recent reporting around Commander Victor Olisa I have, I likened it, that there are issues of progression for BAME candidates.  In June 2016, he cited a recent promotion process which again was repeated to me by another Borough Commander as to what actually happened.  For the rank of Chief Superintendent, when all six BAME candidates failed, as he put it, “Did all six have a bad day?”  Can I have your comment, please, because this is really unacceptable?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Sure but I cannot comment on individual cases but if you look at most organisations, there are issues in relation to recruitment and retention and progression which need to be addressed.  One of the things we should be looking at is mentoring.  What is the reason for why people are not progressing?  It cannot be because they are not talented enough.  It cannot be because they are not good enough.  What is the reason?


Sometimes in organisations, it is because of discrimination.  Sometimes it is because if you are from a minority background, you do not have mates or friends who are in superior positions to mentor you.  You do not have an uncle or somebody else who can take you under their wing and give you advice.  Many of us who have reached our positions have had mentors and people who are supporting us, some of us have not.


We are looking at what we can do to progress the progression of those officers we recruit.  There is no point in recruiting a more diverse police service and they do not progress.  This is one of things that Sophie Linden is looking at but, of course, feel free to raise this with her tomorrow, but it is a priority for me.


Navin Shah AM:  I am glad it is a priority because what we are talking about is not anecdotal.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  No, I agree.


Navin Shah AM:  The resultant information is from the promotion process that took place.  At senior level, officers have confirmed that they have serious concerns that there is something wrong here which needs to be addressed urgently, therefore, at senior level as well, we reflect the diversity of Londoners within the MPS.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Can I just say; there are a load of reasons why it is important.  One of them is if you are a minority and you see somebody in a senior position who is also a minority, it encourages you, inspires you, makes you ambitious.  The same goes with gender, by the way.  It is really important this is addressed.


Navin Shah AM:  Thank you very much, Mr Mayor.


Tony Arbour AM (Chairman):  All right.  Thank you.  That ends MQT.  Can I thank you, Mr Mayor, for your answers.