Lawrence isn’t over yet

“They went to law and won their case, but as symbols of a policing service focused on diverse communities, former Detective Constable Tom Hassell, Detective Sergeant Colin Lockwood and Detective Inspector Paul Whatmore leave something to be desired. During a training course, Hassell erroneously referred to “Shi’ites” as “Shitties”. He likened the headwear worn by Muslims to tea cosies – surely a lame observation for the 21st century, when we know so much about the need to respect other cultures. When Hassell was also flippant about the demands of Muslim fasting, someone – senior colleagues, perhaps – might have thought it prudent, given the demands of basic civility, to take him to task. But neither Lockwood or Whatmore did so. Lockwood merely corrected Hassell’s mispronunciation.

“… one can easily see the subplot of what is happening here. It is already being said that the officers suffered from the politically correct regime forced upon Scotland Yard by the Lawrence inquiry. They themselves have claimed to be victims of a witch hunt, and the commissioner is portrayed as a destructively liberal figure who, because of the failings of those who should have known better, has been allowed to take the helm. ‘Is this man destroying the Met?’ the Daily Mail asked last month.”

Hugh Muir argues that “reactionaries are trying to use an employment tribunal decision to scupper the drive against police racism”.

Guardian, 4 July 2005