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Calls for case reviews after Met sacks officers in race row

SACKED: Two officers based at Islington Police Station lost their jobs over racist remarks.

AN ANTI-RACISM campaigner has called for the Metropolitan Police to review all cases involving two officers who were sacked after being recorded on an iPhone claiming that black people looked like monkeys.

The Met dismissed special constable Rosanna Garofalo and WPC Joanna Sugda for gross misconduct after a colleague recorded them on an iPhone making derogatory remarks.

It was the latest in a string of racism scandals that have rocked the force this year, adding to the reported 96 allegations of racism referred to police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) between April and June this year.

While in a changing room at Islington Police Station on March 9, Garofalo was recorded on an iPhone telling colleague WPC Joanna Sugda that black people “all look the f*****g same. They just all look like monkeys.”

The recording was then passed onto senior staff, who undertook disciplinary proceedings.

A disciplinary hearing was told Sugda, 32, could be heard laughing before telling Garofalo, “You can’t say that.”

INTOLERANCE

But that was not the only display of intolerance by Garofalo, the August 29 hearing was informed. The seemingly intolerant police woman also described one of her colleagues as having “a face like a gorilla” and talked about an Italian woman making her sick for wanting to “go f*****g black men.”

Claudia Webbe, Islington councillor, campaigner and chair of Trident Independent Advisory Group (IAG), told The Voice: “Islington police could start with an independent review of all decisions involving WPC Joanna Sugda and Special Constable Rosanna Garofalo, naturally notifying any individual who would have been subject to a policing decision or action involving these police racists.”

She said it was “sickening” that the Met “continues to employ let alone recruit racists into its workforce”, more than 10 years after recommendations from the Stephen Lawrence report that highlighted institutional racism in the police.

VETTING

“These are employees who supposedly have undertaken and passed a thorough vetting, recruitment and training process and who are then left free to carry out everyday decisions affecting the lives of vulnerable communities,” Webbe said.

“Whilst we can applaud the current action to dismiss such racists from the service, one wonders how long their vile hatred would have continued undercover were it not for the chance discovery by a quick thinking fellow police colleague.”

She added: “The police need to look closely at the cause not just the symptom...The fact that the culture of the police service continues to attract such racist individuals and the power that such individuals are given once employed, can leave very little doubt in the minds of the black community that their basic civil liberties will continue to be violated and they can expect very little by way of justice or recompense.”

GESTURE

Lee Jasper, long-time anti-racism campaigner and chair of the London Race and Criminal Justice Consortium, said: “I'm glad these racist police officers were caught and then sacked but it amounts to little more than 'gesture' politics.”

According to Jasper, “the reality is that this type of rampant racism is once again on the rise within the Police service and remains largely undetected. Until we see police officers charged and prosecuted for these type of serious offenses then little will change.”

Garofalo, who is reportedly launching an unfair dismissal claim, has defended her actions.

She told The Sunday Mirror: “I am not a racist”. She added her comments had no “racist connotations” and the “language used in our recorded conversation…has been taken out of context.”

Commander Allan Gibson of the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards said: “There is no place for racist officers in the Met. We will take action to get them out of the police.”

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