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17 July 2013, 11:22 | Updated: 17 July 2013, 11:26
A report from the police watchdog has found the Met police isn't dealing with race complaints properly.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) concluded that in general the complaints were not handled in a robust, fair or customer-focused way.
It's now calling for a cultural change in the way the force deals with such complaints, supported by training, monitoring and community feedback.
IPCC Commissioner Jennifer Izekor said:
"Race has been, and continues to be, a critical issue for the Metropolitan Police Service. So, the way that it deals with complaints about allegedly racist behaviour by police officers is crucial to public confidence in policing among London's diverse communities.
"This report shows that, though there are some examples of good practice, in general there is an unwillingness or inability to deal with these complaints robustly and effectively. Too often, complaints are dismissed without proper investigation or resolution, complainants are not properly engaged with, and lessons are not learnt.
The report found that:
Racial discrimination was only tackled robustly where it was both overt (use of racist language) and supported by independent evidence
There was little evidence of efforts to explore allegations of racial discrimination with the complainant, or understanding of covert racism
Quality of investigations was in general poor and little or no account was taken of IPCC guidance, especially where complaints were dealt with at borough level; if there were conflicting accounts, there was little attempt to look beyond an officer's denial
Complaints resolution was delayed if there were related criminal proceedings, even for minor offences unrelated to the complaint
The quantity and quality of communication with complainants was in general poor, especially at borough level the majority of letters were poorly written, defensive and full of jargon
There was too little evidence of a restorative approach, fixing what went wrong, identifying learning, or acknowledging a complainant's legitimate perception.
The IPCC recommends the MPS focus on:
Training and guidance for all those who deal with complaints from the public.
A programme of dip-sampling by the Directorate of Professional Standards and quality control of race complaints using some external expertise
Promoting feedback at a local level through borough Commanders community networks
Use complaints to effect changes in policing policy and procedure.