Sandra Laville and Hugh Muir, The Guardian (London), June 10, 2006
A secret high-level Metropolitan police report has concluded that Muslim officers are more likely to become corrupt than white officers because of their cultural and family backgrounds.
The document, which has been seen by the Guardian, has caused outrage among ethnic minorities within the force, who have labelled it racist and proof that there is a gulf in understanding between the police force and the wider Muslim community. The document was written as an attempt to investigate why complaints of misconduct and corruption against Asian officers are 10 times higher than against their white colleagues.
The main conclusions of the study, commissioned by the Directorate of Professional Standards and written by an Asian detective chief inspector, stated: “Asian officers and in particular Pakistani Muslim officers are under greater pressure from the family, the extended family . . . and their community against that of their white colleagues to engage in activity that might lead to misconduct or criminality.”
It recommended that Asian officers needed special anti-corruption training and is now being considered by a working party of senior staff.
The report argued that British Pakistanis live in a cash culture in which “assisting your extended family is considered a duty” and in an environment in which large amounts of money are loaned between relatives and friends.
The leaking of the report comes at a time when the Met needs the cooperation and trust of the Muslim community more than ever and as the force tries to contain the fallout from last week’s anti-terrorist raid in Forest Gate in which a man was shot. The first version was considered so inflammatory when it was shown to representatives from the staff associations for black, Hindu, Sikh and Muslim officers, that it had to be toned down. There are 31,000 officers in the Met — 7%, or 2,170, are black and minority ethnic; among these an estimated 300 are Muslim.
One Muslim officer with the Met said: “It is like saying black officers are more likely to be muggers. Today it is Muslim officers who are treated as the Uncle Toms. How can they say to the Muslim community ‘trust us’, when they don’t even trust their own Muslim officers.”
Ahmanrahman Jafar, vice-chairman of the legal affairs committee of the Muslim Council of Britain, said it was shortsighted of the Met to be alienating its Muslim officers at such a sensitive time.
“We’ve got about 1,000 wrongful anti-terrorist arrests since 9/11 and I believe that if Muslim officers were involved in looking through that intelligence and understanding the context, we would have far greater efficiency in the police force and a far greater prosecution rate,” he said. To support its conclusions, the report gives examples of cases in which Pakistani Muslim officers have been accused of corruption and misconduct. According to its critics, the report gives insufficient weight to the motivation of those who made the complaints or issues of institutional racism.
Superintendent Dal Babu, chairman of the Association of Muslim Officers, said the report had racist undertones. “We are gravely concerned about its contents and the message it sends to recruits and potential recruits,” he said.
George Rhoden, chair of the Metropolitan Black Police Association added. “We have made it clear that we disagreed totally with the conclusions . . . the whole thing needs to be researched in a much more comprehensive way.”