The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
Stevens, Inquiries, Resistance to Change

David Michael • 21 February 2004

I am a recently retired Detective Chief Inspector, founder Member and past Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Service - Black Police Association. I am also a former Metropolitan Police, Police Federation Representative for Detective Chief Inspectors and Detective Inspectors in South East London.

I was profoundly saddened and disappointed to read the comments attributed to Sir John Stevens, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service (Police are 'scared to criticise black officers') in the report by Stewart Tendler (Times February 19 2004, p21).

I have the utmost respect and admiration for Sir John Stevens as a courageous, forthright and legendary leader of the leading Police Service in Britain. On a personal level he is one who has positively shown me enormous courtesy, compassion and humanity during some of the challenging times of my 30 year police career in the Met and since my retirement in December 2002.

However, if reported correctly, I fundamentally disagree with the assertions and inferences attributed to him. In my view, they are symptomatic of why unfortunately, it has been deemed necessary to have an Inquiry headed by Sir Bill Morris into issues pertaining to the Metropolitan Police Service (and by implication the wider British Police Service).

When I joined the Metropolitan Police Service there were only about a dozen black police officers out of a strength of 28,000. In those days police Commanders sometimes expressed exasperation about 'Police Constables with three stripes' meaning those who had achieved the rank of Sergeant but showed little evidence of management, leadership and supervisory ability and capability.

The empirical evidence presented by black officers and police staff in successful employment tribunals and the daily anecdotal evidence by black officers of their treatment at the hands of some managers and supervisors is at great variance with the words attributed to Sir John.

The Commissioner spends vast sums of public money on his Leadership Programme for the Senior Staff and Managers in the Met. I would suggest that if an adequate and appropriate response to the recommendations of Lord Scarman, Lord Justice MacPherson (Chair of Stephen Lawrence Inquiry) former Commissioners Lord Imbert and Sir Robert Mark were applied, the suggestion that some police managers are struggling to do their duty, would be quickly rectified.

I would suggest that the Police Occupational Culture has far more to do with some in the Met and other Police Services in Britain still being unable to come to terms with The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, Report and Recommendations. It does not bode well for the Morris Inquiry, whatever the findings and recommendations. And far more importantly for me, who will action those recommendations.















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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

25 February 2004


Other Articles From This Issue:


Naming Bobby Sands Street

Pedram Moallemian


Suspended Belief
J. Sean Burns


Kelly's Cellars
Anthony McIntyre


Stop Press!
Jimmy Sands


PSNI/RUC Occupies POW's Family Homes
Marian Price and Martin Mulholland


Did the Black and Tans Run From the Rifles of the IRA?
Liam O Ruairc


Stevens, Inquiries, Resistance to Change
David Michael


Provisionals Attempt to Censor and Exclude RSF in Scotland
Seamus Reader


Provisional Police?
George Young


20 February 2004


A Malignant Menage d'trois

Anthony McIntyre


On the Record
Kathleen O'Halloran


David Lidington
Eamon Sweeney


The Buck Stops Here
Brian Mór


Loyalist Racism and Terror Attacks
Paul Mallon


Foundations for Development Laid as Sinn Fein Goes Unionist
Eamonn McCann


All Are Targets
Mohammed Omer


Calendar of Events
Belfast Anti-War Movement




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