CAIRO - One of the most senior Muslim officers in the British police has resigned after 30 years in the service in protest at the prevailing bias against the recruitment of officers of ethnic minorities.
The police service is certainly a very different organization from the one I joined when racist name-calling was commonplace, chief superintendent Dal Babu told The Guardian.
But my sadness is we have gone from 1% to 5% black and ethnic minority officers in 30 years.
Babu, of Indian origin, has resigned after 30 years in the police after being rejected for promotion to chief officer rank.
The high-ranking officer has been a prominent and eloquent spokesman for Muslim police officers with wide public exposure.
He was also awarded OBE in recognition for his efforts to encourage soaring public confidence ratings in the London borough of Harrow he runs.
In spite of holding a master's degree and speaking four languages, he was considered unsuitable to assume chief officer rank because his media interview skills were not deemed good enough.
He was also refused a place on the strategic command course for the next generation of chief constables.
Babu, who joined the Metropolitan police in 1983, complains that ethnic minorities are still poorly represented in the police service, particularly in senior roles.
We have not managed to replicate the communities we serve. Our major cities are majority ethnic minority and yet the police force remains stubbornly white, he said.
Only 2.8 percent of police leadership is from black or minority ethnic backgrounds.
This year, there are no black or minority ethnic officers on the course and chief officers admit the service is in the grip of a diversity crisis.
"Despite everything that has happened I have been incredibly lucky to be a Metropolitan police officer," he said.
"I don't think it is helpful to be bitter but we can make the police service better than it is. We can make sure that it is more representative; we need to think differently."
Lack of Will
The Muslim officer complains of lack of political will to enhance the representation of ethnic minorities into the police service.
We have ended up with lots of theory around police and diversity, and what we need is an ounce of action, he said.
"I don't see black and Asian officers in inspector ranks or chief inspector ranks. There is going to be a very significant gap.
Pursuing several initiatives to increase the number of ethnic minority officers in the department, Babu worked to end a planned boycott by many black officers of the whole promotion system in 2008.
"I spoke to the head of recruitment and organized for a group of senior officers to do one-to-one mentoring," he said.
"We met at my house and they explained to the officers what the process was and what was expected of them, it was intensive mentoring and it was at no cost to the force. It resulted in eight out of the 11 officers involved being successfully promoted."
But his suggestion for adopting a scheme for all senior ranks was rejected by the Association of Chief Police Officers.
"I was flabbergasted they weren't prepared to consider it," he said.
"It cost nothing and had such a positive impact. Now where we are is in a situation where we have got no one on the strategic command course who is black or ethnic minority this year."
Babu warns that without a sincere will to change the current situation in the police, the representation of black people and ethnic minorities within middle- and senior-ranking posts will get worse."We can do this within the law, it's perfectly legal. If you started looking at language as a requirement for a job in the police, if you say you want applicants to have experience in volunteering within their own community groups, if you said for the Met, you have got to live in London - all of this would mean you would get more applicants who were black and ethnic minority.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net