A piece by John Simpson, Crime Correspondent, in today’s Times, emphases ours:
A senior Scotland Yard officer faces losing his job in a racism row after he used the phrase “whiter than white” while encouraging responsible policing.
The detective superintendent will face an independent investigation for gross misconduct after he gave a briefing to colleagues during which he is said to have reminded them of the need to be exemplary in their police work.
The officer, who serves in the force’s anti-corruption unit, has been put on restricted duties while the Independent Office for Police Complaints (IOPC) deals with the allegation as part of a broader inquiry.
A Met officer who was aware of the case told the Evening Standard: “It may have been a poor use of language but this is not what the misconduct process is for. This is not corruption. This is not serious wrongdoing.”
In a separate inquiry at another force, an officer is believed to be under investigation for use of the phrase “pale, stale and male”. The term “a good egg” is also thought to be discouraged for fear that it is associated with the racist rhyming slang “egg and spoon”. [J4MB – are we alone in never having heard the term “a good egg” used in a racist manner?]
A range of complaints has been made against officers from the Met’s department of professional standards, with a total of 14 officers subject to the IOPC investigation, codenamed Operation Embley. There has been speculation that the watchdog is also investigating suspicions that officers from the unit protected colleagues who faced allegations of child abuse, grooming, fraud, physical assault and racism.
Cressida Dick, the Met commissioner, made clear recently that she would back her officers and that the allegations were not on the level of corruption seen in the 1970s, when officers were caught taking bribes.
“The word corruption is very easily said and easily bandied around,” Ms Dick said last month. “Most members of the public, or indeed police officers, when they look back and think about police corruption, they have an image of, for example, officers doing the wrong thing because they are perhaps being paid to do the wrong thing.
“I take it very seriously because it’s my professional standards department. I have confidence in my professional standards department.”
A spokesman for the IOPC said: “I can confirm that as part of Operation Embley into allegations of serious corruption and malpractice within the Directorate of Professional Standards a notice of investigation has been served on an officer informing them we are investigating the alleged use of language deliberately intended to offend and that had racist undertones.
“A notice is issued to inform an officer at the earliest opportunity following an allegation and to safeguard their interests. It in no way indicates that misconduct proceedings will take place.”
Scotland Yard declined to comment on the details of the allegations but confirmed that the detective was subject to restrictions. A spokesman said: “This forms part of the IOPC investigation under Operation Embley. The officer remains in their [J4MB: his] operational post.”
The phrase “whiter than white” is believed to originate from Shakespeare’s poem Venus and Adonis, published in 1593. A spokesman for the Plain English Campaign said: “As the phrase means ‘morally beyond reproach’ and is used in that context with that intent, it seems fairly ludicrous that the officer is being investigated at all.”
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