29 Jul 2016

Met Police to meet black fireman in wake of race allegations

The Metropolitan Police’s most senior black officer is to meet the black fireman Edric Kennedy-Macfoy in the wake of this week’s aborted hearing into race related allegations against some of the officers involved in the incident.

The London firefighter has accepted an invitation to discuss how diversity training could be improved in the Met after telling Channel 4 News that ‘racism is like a disease’ in the force.


The offer was made last year when the Met apologised to the fireman and paid substantial damages.

Yesterday the force announced no further action will be taken against the officers who were facing gross misconduct charges.

They say race played no part in their actions five years ago.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission withdrew its case over “procedural shortfalls.”

It’s emerged tonight he’s been invited to meet the head of the Independent Police Complaints Commission to discuss the failures which led the aborted hearing.

He never got the chance to finally give his side of the story, and neither did the officers, two of whom have spoken of the serious damage the case has had on their health.

The gross misconduct hearing was held under the old rules, behind closed doors and with the media denied access. These days it’s different and this case serves as a reminder of why it’s crucial for the press to be allowed to report on such tribunals – important for both police officers and complainants.

So we do not know exactly how or why the case collapsed. We do not know why witness statements were omitted from the inquiry report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission or why and where there was a failure to disclose or who knew what and when.

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If the tables were turned and it was the Metropolitan Police or any other force who had carried out the investigation there would be accusations of a cover up, demands for resignations and the issue of race would return to haunt yet again.

Should the same questions should now be asked of the IPCC? It’s survival and credibility depends on public confidence.

Is an ‘in depth review“ sufficient? The IPCC has apologised to both sides but for that to mean anything at all the public will expect to know in detail what went wrong and why. The Commission is to appoint someone outside itself and the police to carry out the review and says ‘we would seek to make the findings public as much as we are able to..”

Tweets by @simonisrael

One reader comment

  1. Robert Manley says:

    To claim that “the issue of race would return to haunt (the Met.) again” is somewhat disingenuous because the lack of detail in Simon Israel’s 27 July report serves to reinforce C4 News’ apparent predilection to criticise the police service at every possible juncture.

    Fairness would surely demand that an interviewee who claims he was mistreated by police for reasons of his race would be asked to specify what was said or done that made that racism so manifest – and to be examined on that. This did not happen. Other reports of the incident complained of provide more detail and suggest that at the time police were struggling to control a disorderly crowd of about 200 people, a scenario that resonates with the disorders that recently occurred in Hyde Park and other parts of London and at Headley in Surrey and which featured mostly black youths. Despite the lootings, knifings and a shooting that occurred during the course of those disorders allegations of racism were still levelled at officers from some quarters. I did not see C4 News’ coverage of these events but I suspect the programme makers might share that eagerness to criticise the police at every turn, especially if the issue of race can be brought into play.

    On 3 August C4 News televised a critique of the Met’s contingency planning for terrorist attacks. At one point the presenter went off at a tangent to ask one commentator what concerns these plans might cause “among certain communities”. In his reply the commentator observed that proportionately more black people have been tasered than whites – especially those with mental health issues. The implication could be drawn from this statement that black people are treated unfairly where tasering is concerned. Yet there is available recorded film footage of the tasering of a mentally ill black male in 2015 at Leytonstone Underground Station. The male had used a large knife to try to slit the throat of a tube passenger. In my submission, the commentator would have a difficult job persuading any rational person viewing the footage that there was some other way in which the police officers could have dealt with the knife wielding maniac. That they were compelled to to taser a black man and not a white one was something beyond their control. Similarly, the racial composition of the lawbreakers in Hyde Park and those throwing missiles in the disturbance which features in Simon Israel’s report was beyond the control of the officers sent there.

    On all the above occasions officers were dealing with disorder and violence instigated by others. The fact that those others may not have been white is not indicative of racism, its simply a measure of our fractured as well as lawless society. And if police are to receive no degree of credit from C4 News for putting themselves forward to deal with such violence they surely should, at the very least, be accorded the courtesy of having their actions reported in an objective and balanced way, without bias and where accusations levelled against them are fully scrutinised.

    If the programme cannot do that it is simply not a bona fide news service.

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