James Forsyth

It is time to stand up to those who want to stop minorities joining the Met

It is time to stand up to those who want to stop minorities joining the Met
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The appointment of Sir Paul Stephenson as the new commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has been broadly welcomed. As this magazine puts in its editorial this week, “Unlike his predecessor, Sir Ian Blair, and his chief rival for the job, Sir Hugh Orde — head of the Police Service of Northern Ireland — Stephenson is not a politician in uniform” but a policeman.

But the welcome for Stephenson has not been universal. The Observer reports that the National Black Police Officers Association will “step up its campaign to dissuade black and Asian people from joining the force under the new commissioner.” It is disgusting that senior Met officers are, via the NBPA, trying to prevent minorities from joining the force. In so doing they are impairing the effectiveness of the Met; a police force needs to be seen as being both responsive to the community and representative of it.

The idea that there needs to be a separate association for minority officers is the most pernicious kind of balkanising, multiculturalist cant. That this association is now trying to deter minorities from joining the force shows just how divisive this doctrine is.

Stephenson should be supported by The Metropolitan Police Authority in facing the NBPA down. Its behaviour is simply unacceptable and should appal everyone who wants the Met to be a representative force. Stephenson and the MPA should have zero tolerance for those, whatever their motivation, who want to deter members of minority groups from becoming police officers.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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