By RICK DEWSBURY
Police chiefs have banned the word ‘blacklist’ over fears it is racist. They have also struck out its opposite – ‘whitelist’ – which is used by IT workers for a list of acceptable email contacts. Scotland Yard employees have been told to use ‘red’ and ‘green’ instead.
The move baffled officers, who said it would do little to help the force emerge from its latest racism crisis. Thirteen reports of racism, involving 27 officers and staff, are being probed by the Met and the independent police watchdog. One officer said: ‘Frankly we all sigh when things like this come around. Lots of good work is done to make sure policing reaches into all parts of society and helps the most vulnerable. This is not it.’
The ban emerged in an email to Yard IT staff from security services chief Brian Douglas. He wrote: ‘IB (Information Board) are uncomfortable with the use of the term whitelist (and I presume blacklist).’I am sure we can appreciate the sensitivity around the use of such terminology today so please ensure it is no longer used.’
The measure is part of a drive by police chiefs to stamp out racism within the force. But officers within the organisation are said to have described the latest orders as ‘bizarre’. One source said that banning them won’t solve any genuine problems the Met has with racism.
They added: ‘Do we really think these words are discriminatory? The truth is they’re nothing to do with race whatsoever and are very common IT terms.’ The police watchdog announced last month that it is carrying out a review into how racism allegations are dealt with by the Metropolitan Police.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission said it would ‘increase its level of scrutiny’ following serious complaints of racist behaviour by officers. Future allegations will bypass the force’s internal complaints procedure and be fast-tracked to the IPCC.
The watchdog also launched new investigations into alleged racist abuse by Met officers in September and December 2011. Earlier this month the Met revealed that ten serious complaints of racist behaviour by officers have been passed to the IPCC. They were forced to reveal the scale of the scandal following an outcry over the treatment of a black man in the back of a police van.
Mauro Demetrio, 21, secretly recorded PC Alex MacFarlane telling him: ‘You will always be a n*****.’
Senior officials at the IPCC are known to be concerned that the Met may have failed to shake off its problem with bigotry 13 years after it was branded institutionally racist by the Macpherson Inquiry, set up following the death of Stephen Lawrence. The series of allegations have led to accusations that little progress has been made in the 19 years since the racist murder.