Met acknowledges 'some justification' to claims the force is 'racist'

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe
Image caption Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said he could not challenge people's perceptions of the Met

The head of the Metropolitan Police has said there is "some justification" to claims that the force is institutionally racist.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said Scotland Yard would take the allegations "on the chin" ahead of a BBC documentary.

Speaking to journalists, he said: "If other people think we are institutionally racist, then we are. It's no good me saying we're not."

He added he believed that society as a whole was "institutionally racist".

Analysis by Danny Shaw, BBC home affairs correspondent

Image copyright AFP

The label "institutional racism" was first pinned to the Met 16 years ago by the Macpherson report into the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

It defined institutional racism as "the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin".

Each Met Commissioner since then has been asked, at various points during their tenure, whether that toxic phrase still applies to the force - and Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has answered the question several times.

His answer has remained the same: In essence he defers to the judgment of the public. Why? Because he's aware the Met, which has made improvements in race relations, must go further still, particularly in terms of its ability to recruit and retain more black and ethnic minority officers.

Film crews followed the force between September 2013 and September 2014.

During a press screening, Sir Bernard said he also accepted that more black men were stopped and searched when compared with other groups.

He said: "You're very much more likely to be stopped and searched if you're a young black man... I can give you reasons, but I can't fully explain it."

He added: "I think society is institutionally racist. You see lack of representation in many fields of which the police are one, from judges, to doctors, to journalists, to editors, to governments."

The filming also coincided with the inquest into Mark Duggan's death.

Image copyright Jeff Moore
Image caption Mark Duggan was shot by police in north London in 2011

The 29-year-old was fatally shot by police in Tottenham in August 2011, sparking riots across the country.

The documentary follows Ch Supt Victor Olisa, a black officer, who was brought in as Haringey's borough commander following Mr Duggan's death.

He told the film crew he had faced "more battering" in Haringey with a "sizeable number of black African community" than when he worked in a "borough where there was a sizeable number of BNP people".

The Met: Policing London begins on Monday 8 June at 21:00 BST on BBC One.

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