Ted Jeory, Express (London), January 12, 2014
Scotland Yard has a “diversity crisis” and should be forced to consider appointing a black or Muslim officer as its next commissioner, an influential MP urged last night.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, said trust in the country’s biggest force was being eroded and it was time for “dramatic” solutions.
He said a form of positive discrimination was needed to ensure at least one candidate on the next shortlist to run the Yard was from an ethnic minority background.
The country’s highest ranking ethnic minority officer is the Met’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan, meaning a black woman could soon become Britain’s top police officer.
The Met’s Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe is under the most intense pressure since he took the job in 2011, causing many to wonder how long he can remain in the post.
Rumours circulating in Westminster yesterday that he had tendered his resignation to Home Secretary Theresa May were denied but he is still fighting fires on a number of fronts.
These include the Plebgate affair, corruption at Scotland Yard and questions over his own role as a former South Yorkshire officer in the aftermath of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.
Sir Bernard said last week that the Met needed to create and retain a workforce that reflected London’s diverse population. Police insiders say he has made the task one of his main priorities and knows the Met is “too white”.
The force is running a huge “London is You” recruitment drive with a target to hire some 5,000 new officers by 2015, of whom up to 30 per cent should be non-white.