With Commander Ali Dizaei’s conviction for perverting the course of justice and misconduct in public office today, the Met has finally rid itself of its single most destructive officer. Many Met chiefs – and many anti-racism campaigners with impeccable records – believe that at least some of what was described over the last few years as the Met’s “race problem” was in fact an “Ali Dizaei” problem.
Dizaei, they say, used his office in the Met’s Black Police Association (BPA) to shield himself from the consequences of his own criminality. Any investigation of him was denounced as racist – and he also wound up other black officers, including the former assistant commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, to press sometimes over-egged grievances so he would not be alone in the firing line.
The Met does, I think, still have a real problem with race. There has been a remarkable lack of black officers promoted to senior roles, a number of troubling discrimination cases and settlements, a tendency for black recruits to leave sooner than whites. Black Londoners are significantly less satisfied with the Met’s service than whites.
But black officers have been badly served by the BPA, and by their most senior standard-bearers, such as Ghaffur and Dizaei. There’s increasing evidence that many realise this – the association’s founding chairman, David Michael, for instance, has denounced the way that the BPA’s decisionmaking became dominated by a small group around Dizaei.
Some commentators are claiming that there will be “big reverberations” from this conviction. There won’t be. After Dizaei’s arrest, the BPA called for black Londoners to boycott recruitment for the Met – a call that went almost entirely ignored. That showed how much clout Dizaei and the race-mongers really have.