The National Black Police Association (NBPA) has called for ethnic minorities to boycott joining the Metropolitan police in protest at a “racist and vexatious” misconduct investigation into a leading officer.
In the first call for a boycott in 20 years, the association claims Charles Ehikioya, chair of the Met Black Police Association (Met BPA), has been targeted because he voiced concerns about the poor behaviour of senior officers – and the racism he and his colleagues are suffering.
The NBPA claimed Ehikioya was racially abused in a WhatsApp group and, instead of treating him as a victim, there had been a deliberate and concerted effort to find dubious evidence against him.
Andy George, the president of the NBPA, said: “The timing of this complaint leads me to believe that there is a desire to remove any dissenting voices from public discourse. Given the crisis in confidence highlighted through so many incidents and reports, I cannot say that we can adequately protect and support officers of colour within the MPS [Metropolitan police service].
“For that reason, I take the extraordinary step of saying that we no longer have confidence in the commissioner or his senior leadership team to bring about the necessary and promised reforms to the service.
“I also regretfully recommend that anyone from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds does not join the MPS until there is more rigorous accountability placed on the commissioner and more resources are given to the Met BPA so they can provide wrap-around support to those in need.”
The NBPA highlighted the findings of last year’s landmark report by Louise Casey, which said Black officers were 81% more likely to face misconduct than their white counterparts.
Casey wrote: “Allegations against officers and staff of colour might follow when they raise their head above the parapet to call out poor behaviour. This is a pattern embedded across Met culture: speaking out often results in adverse consequences for the complainant.”
The NBPA said Ehikioya had been place under restrictions that prevented him from being involved in any cases that involved discrimination and from attending meetings with the mayor’s office for policing and crime. It also claimed a commander emailed him within hours of the misconduct notice being served, asking him when he would be stepping down.
Leroy Logan, a former chair of the NBPA, said: “The MPS has done what it can to prevent the Met BPA from forming and ever since its inception has tried to remove the honest voice of our members from public debate. I myself was targeted as chair of the Met BPA so it comes as no surprise to me that they have decided to target the current chair.”
The Alliance for Police Accountability campaign group said: “The threat of a national Black policing recruitment boycott could lead to reset introducing radial, genuine, transparent antiracist reform within the MPS.”
Its chair, Lee Jasper, said: “The MPS’s weaponisation of the misconduct system against Black officers is unacceptable. It demonstrates the reality of a toxic policing culture of racism and discrimination that must be brutally confronted and completely dismantled.”
He said the refusal of the Met commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, to accept that the Met is institutionally racist – which was a finding of the Casey review – was “a fundamental blind spot, preventing any real progress”.
Cmdr Colin Wingrove said: “There is no place for racism. Discrimination in all its forms must be challenged by every Met officer and member of staff.
“It is not appropriate to discuss the details of a forthcoming misconduct process which must take place without interference.”
The Met said an inspector would face a gross misconduct hearing following allegations inappropriate WhatsApp messages were sent and received between 2017 and 2020.
The last call for a boycott followed the acquittal on all charges of Supt Ali Dizaei – once tipped to be the first ethnic minority chief constable – in 2003 for endangering national security, abusing drugs and using sex workers. Those claims were later found to be baseless.
Ali Dizaei was later convicted of criminal offences, jailed and dismissed from the force in 2012.