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Letter from Chief Superintendent Victor Olisa to the Evening Standard

Blog post   •   Sep 13, 2016 16:42 BST

I gave an interview to the Evening Standard in June. The article appeared in today's paper - a full three months later. I feel the article - especially the headlines and top paragraphs are not a fair reflection of my views and in important areas it is simply inaccurate.

It is an important part of my role and a privilege to be challenging and I have the backing of the Commissioner to be just that - but it is also important that when I do speak it is accurately reported. The section on stop and search and implication I have been racially abused by colleagues especially gives an entirely wrong impression.

The headline on the online story has in direct quotes that I said the Met "routinely discriminate against black people". It is repeated in the opening paragraph of the newspaper story. That is not a phrase I would use and that is not backed up in the subsequent story. I would never say that the police are routinely discriminating against black people or anyone else for that matter.

The headline in the newspaper says "Police Do Target Black People On Streets". Again this is not an a reflection of the points I was making.

I would say some police practice might be interpreted as discriminatory, but that would not mean officers stopped and searched people based on prejudice and discriminatory thoughts. It is also wrong to say discrimination is driven by performance. It may be the unintended outcome from performance measure but that is very different from performance driving discrimination.

The headlines and opening paragraphs are not backed up with direct quotes and I simply do not recognise the interview as published as my views.

In the newspaper article the second headline says: "I've suffered racism at work, says Met chief". A reasonable reader would interpret that as racism from fellow officers. As I made clear in the interview I have not been the subject of racist behaviour from my colleagues but I have from the public.

It is a shame that the parts of the interview - which lasted for over an hour - which talked about the enormous progress in BME recruitment under the Commissioner and the increased number of senior officers from minority communities were missed in favour of points which do not reflect my views.

The Met has done much in areas such as stop and search and I don't dispute there is much more to do - I would never shy away from that. However the Met is made up of men and women from every background committed to making London the safest global city. I am proud of that and I felt that was a theme which I carried through the interview with the Evening Standard.