IPCC to handle all Metropolitan Police racism complaints

New Scotland Yard sign
Image caption The IPCC is investigating five cases of alleged racism by Metropolitan Police officers

All complaints of racism against Metropolitan Police officers are to be automatically referred to the police watchdog, it has been announced.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it would also conduct a "thematic review" of past and current cases to identify any trends.

It comes as 18 officers are being investigated over racism allegations.

The IPCC said it was now looking at a further two cases of allegations of racism, bringing the total to five.

The two additional investigations are an allegation of racial abuse in December 2011 and another in September last year of racial abuse and excessive force in custody.

The IPCC had previously announced that it was looking into three allegations; one from a 21-year-old man who filmed an incident on a mobile phone, another of a 15-year-old youth allegedly assaulted at Forest Gate police station, and a third in which a group of police officers allegedly made racist comments to one another.

The IPCC has decided not to investigate a further six complaints.

IPCC commissioner Mike Franklin said: "The police must not hide behind statistics and must recognise that actual recorded allegations of racism are probably an indication of much wider disaffection and dissatisfaction."

He added: "We know that allegations of racism are often difficult to prove as in many cases they are a complainant's word against an officer or officers, but that does not necessarily mean it did not happen."

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