October 21st, 2008

Speaking Out

Posted in The Job - General by 200

In the 17 October issue of the Police Review, DC Rod Austin, a detective with the Met’s Specialist Crime Directorate, speaks out against the Black Police Association. He describes the Met Black Police’s recent rants as ‘ongoing rhetoric’ and says that someone has to take a stance on behalf of the Met & black & ethnic officers who do not share the association’s views of racism within the force.

DC Austin, himself black, says he has seen great changes within the Met which don’t support the BPA’s current viewpoint. He says: “Today’s Met BPA, I believe, is a power-hungry ‘political’ group operating within the Met, whose members appear to be focused on personal success by continually browbeating the force under the banner of racism.

It seems that whenever one of their members finds themselves under scrutiny, the racist banner seems to get dragged out of the cupboard and hoisted high. This is followed by irresponsible and unjustified comments being made to the media, warning ethnic minority people not to join the Met because racism will prevent them from achieving success.

In my view, these comments are made without qualification or any credible evidence to support them and are simply not true.”

DC Austin had previously been approached to join the BPA but declined believing the Association’s aims did not truly support finding ways to break down the cultural differences that had deterred ethnic minority people from joining the police.

DC Austin says he doesn’t believe the BPA speaks for the majority of black or ethnic minority officers within the Met.

He ends his letter by saying of the BPA: “It was not created to cry ‘racism’ every time one of its members is alleged to have acted inappropriately or has failed to gain promotion. It was started to help the Met recruit black and ethnic minority officers by breaking down barriers – not building them.”

Well said, that man!

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13 comments

  1. Twining says:

    The BPA was set up to tackle racism as a support network; it’s primary purpose is not as DC Austin may suggest; to encourage recruitment. It’s constitution is clear in this way. In this aspect DC Austin is misinformed. I still think the action of the met BPA is very very harsh. And I note that DC Austin has chosen not to be a part of the BPA.

    October 21st, 2008 at 18:21

  2. Twining says:

    And if DC Austin is not a part of the BPA then how can he share the Met BPA’s views of racism or otherwise?

    October 21st, 2008 at 18:23

  3. 200 says:

    Twining, I don’t think he does share the views of the Met BPA. Do you have to be a member of something before you can express an opinion on their views, then?

    I’m not a member of the BNP & I bet you’re not either, but I guarantee you have views on their views.

    October 21st, 2008 at 19:29

  4. Tony F says:

    I have always thought that things like the BPA (from an outsiders view) creates a division line rather than is a focal point to heal one. I really do appreciate that racism of any sort is disgusting, and should be eradicated, but eradication by separation does not work, eradication by amalgamation will. However, this will mean that everyone who is not racist will have to stick their necks out a bit, and those that play ‘the racist’ card to gain points, should be slapped down hard by their own. For indeed it is those that get hurt the most.

    On the other hand, I shall go and slap myself with a haddock.

    October 21st, 2008 at 19:49

  5. Vicki says:

    I can see the BPA’s point of view in regards to one issue, namely the numbers of black officers facing internal investigation against their white colleagues. Basically the figures from each force demonstrate that, by percentage, if you’re black you’re twice as likely to have the rubber heelers breathing down your neck. Maybe I’m living in a dream world, but I don’t believe this points to some sort of conspiracy to drive out black officers. What I think it points to is a lack of willingness by supervisory to deal with issues by way of an informal kick up the, er, pants due to concerns about being accused of victimisation. If you just document the allegations, whether baseless or not, and then pass the issue upstairs, no blame can attach to you. It’s a crappy way to deal with an issue, but frankly, who can blame the Sergeants and Inspectors concerned?

    October 21st, 2008 at 20:13

  6. Twining says:

    My point is the BPA will have experiences because of it’s role, DC Austin will never have the same experiences; the BPA’s role is to tackle racism, of course it will be expunged with experiences of this nature.

    And of course DC Austin will have views, but what value we place on them is based on our experiences.

    October 22nd, 2008 at 16:27

  7. 200 says:

    Twining, you do talk in riddles sometimes.

    The BPA can’t have experiences since it is an association, it’s members may have experiences but are they any more valid than someone who isn’t a member?

    Also, I’m not sure you’re using the word ‘expunged’ correctly, this means ‘wiped out’ or similar, are you saying the BPA will be wiped out or are you saying that it will have lots of racist experiences because of what it’s members have been suffering? Or something different, I’m confused.

    October 22nd, 2008 at 17:46

  8. Twining says:

    200 my point ios Gandhi was a good man, yet there were plenty of Indians and Muslims preapred to knock him to the content of the British. This does not make those knocking him right in all aspects. Those that knocked Gandhi had a very racial vision of India.

    October 22nd, 2008 at 18:06

  9. Civ_In_The_City says:

    I`m a bit unclear about what Twining is saying here too.

    I do think there is a difference between the original stated aims of the BPA and what it`s actually involved with now. Maybe DC Austin spotted the way the wind was blowing a long time ago and wanted no part. Maybe he`s interested in equal rights, protections and opportunities for all but felt that the BPA was mainly interested in ensuring those opportunities only for its members.

    Also, at the time of it`s creation people weren`t likely to criticise any minority regardless of what they wanted to do, most especially any group formed along race or colour lines. There is a backlash against the BPA, in proportion to it`s evolution from protecting equal right to pursuing political advantage. It`s coming to be seen as a bit, not racist, but divisive and no longer fit for purpose.

    Perhaps now it should be re-titled and amalgamated into the Federation so it`s efforts can be enjoyed by all officers. Equally.

    October 22nd, 2008 at 18:13

  10. Twining says:

    200, what I am saying is by it’s nature it’s members will have experiences, that some in the majority won’t agree with; a bit like the BNP, people inside the BNP have racist views, there is a common theme. Equally people inside the BPA will have experiences of racism, a common theme. Each group has members which have a common purpose.

    DC Austin has chosen to stay out. In terms of Mahatma the ruling classes were clear on undermining him and they used or allowed other Indian and Muslim folk to do the undermining. In the same way some may undermine the ethos of the NBPA, the ethos is not wrong, the practice of some people inside the NBPA is questionable though, but the ethos is good. I don’t like this backlash. Some of us have done alot and stuck our necks out against leaders who have played PC games with this subject. Let’s now forget who wins; it is the racist that wins.

    October 22nd, 2008 at 18:39

  11. Civ_In_The_City says:

    I`m currently reading George Foremans autobiography. He decided years ago not to take any notice of the colour of anyones skin, he deliberately avoids referring to skin colour or ethnicity in his book.

    Reading between the lines, he says that at his school most of the students and teachers were black. There were divisions on wealth lines instead. The teachers treated the poorer children differently, figuring that they would never make anything of themselves.

    He never forgot his first experience of prejudice, and that it wasn`t because of his colour.

    I like the sound of that, but I`m sure claiming to be ‘colour blind’ would be no defence if I was accused of unwitting or unconcious racism. It certainly hasn`t helped Ian Blair.

    It`s up to the BPA members to decide the best course of action. If they feel well served by their current leader then so be it. If not then find someone else.

    October 22nd, 2008 at 20:10

  12. ginger says:

    Interestingly, ex-DCI Dave Michael (one of the founders of the BPA) has roundly condemned the Met BPA’s actions.

    October 28th, 2008 at 10:16

  13. L M Hallam says:

    So now the the Met Deputy Commissioner has accepted what the Met BPA has been saying about artificial barriers and discrimination, wil DC Austin now be man enough to rgue with the ‘job view’ or will he pretend that he is right and enjoys his rose tinted view of the world.

    January 8th, 2010 at 18:59

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