Campaigners supporting the Black Lives Matter movement in Birmingham are demanding West Midlands Police release the name of an officer who has been sacked for making racist comments.

Community activists from the region’s Black community have described the police force of “protecting racists” after it failed to disclose the personal details of the officer as has been done following similar previous cases.

The anonymous officer was sacked after making racist and inappropriate comments about his colleagues, according to WMP.

He appeared before an independent misconduct panel this week after being previously given a final written warning when he appeared before an independent panel in September last year, but West Midlands Police successfully challenged the decision resulting in a further hearing yesterday (Thursday 9 July).

This time the panel unanimously agreed that the officer should be dismissed without notice for his racism and he was subsequently sacked.

Community leaders have reacted with anger at West Midlands Police's failure to reveal the name of an officer fired for racismAdam Yosef
Community leaders have reacted with anger at West Midlands Police’s failure to reveal the name of an officer fired for racism

Head of Professional Standards, Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Todd, said:

“It was clear in this case that this officer felt it acceptable to talk about other colleagues in a racist way.

“It was always our case that any officer or member of staff in West Midlands Police behaving in that way should be dismissed.

“There is no place for racism in policing and if we don’t eliminate it internally we cannot expect the public, particularly those from Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities, to put their trust in us. It was the right thing to do therefore to challenge the original decision at the High Court.

“I hope now that this outcome will give confidence to our colleagues across policing to report such behaviour knowing that they will be supported; and that it will give confidence to our communities that they can trust West Midlands Police to root out racism.”

However, Midlands campaigners are outraged the officer has been allowed to avoid public scrutiny after his name was withheld, especially in the wake of recent demonstrations protesting police brutality and claims of “institutional racism” across the police force.

Civil rights campaigner Charlie Williams from Birmingham Adam Yosef
Birmingham civil rights campaigner Charlie Williams outside West Midlands Police HQ

Birmingham-based civil rights campaigner Charlie Williams, who led an anti-racism rally outside the WMP Headquarters at Lloyd House last month, told I Am Birmingham:

“It’s long been known within the community across the West Midlands that they are institutionally racist.

“They’re meant to be building trust and confidence, but yet they won’t name an officer that’s been found guilty and sacked, but yet they still see it fit to protect him and protect his identity.

“It’s an absolute disgrace and sends a much negative message to the community of ‘we’re still happy to protect racists’.

“This is the message it sends to the community that ‘we’re still happy to protect racists, even when they’re convicted and found guilty’.”

A Black Lives Matter protest outside the West Midlands HQ on June 19, 2020Adam Yosef
A Black Lives Matter protest outside the West Midlands HQ on June 19, 2020

In a separate but similar incident, a decorated West Midlands Police officer was last month sacked for sending a sexually explicit photograph to a member of the public. However, in that case the officer was publicly named for what force officials described as “completely unacceptable” behaviour.

Williams – a key organiser in several Midlands-based campaigns seeking justice for families of victims of police brutality and structural racism, among them The Windrush Movement UK, Justice4Daz Darren Cumberbatch Family and Justice4Kingsley Campaign – is urging West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson to respond to the controversy.

“I’d like to call on the Police and Crime Commissioner and ask him what he’s doing about this and if he’s going to actually see that this officer is named as well, because this is a man who is supposed to be representing the community of Birmingham so I’d like to know if he’s endorsing this as well.”

Birmingham activist Charlie Williams is calling for greater police accountability for racist actions Adam Yosef
Birmingham activist Charlie Williams is calling for greater police accountability for racist actions
A mother of a victim of police brutality cries outside West Midlands Police HQ last month Adam Yosef
A mother of a victim of police brutality cries outside West Midlands Police HQ last month

News of the racist incident comes as West Midlands Police has admitted struggles in recruiting people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

According to the the Police and Crime Commissioner, ethnic minority recruitment is a top priority for the force due to underrepresentation from these communities and demographics. The force aims to recruit 1,000 BAME officers over the next three years in a bid to “change the face” of West Midlands Police.

With the force currently only 11% BAME, officials believe a target of about 30% Black, Asian and minority ethnic officers and staff would better reflect the city.

Critics, however, argue that the BAME population are also disproportionately targeted by police without ample scrutiny.

West Midlands Police have been struggling to recruit people from BAME backgrounds Adam Yosef
West Midlands Police have been struggling to recruit people from BAME backgrounds

Nathaniel Prescod, co-founder of Black Consciousness Coventry, said officers guilty of hate crimes should be held to account.

“Racism has no place in our society. Those in positions of power have a responsibility to not only to be non racist but be anti-racist.

We welcome the sacking of this officer and we are calling for his prosecution. Our desire is to see police officers who engage in racism against the general public to be also be held to account and sacked.

22,000 searches on young black men during lockdown; more than 80% stop-and-search procedures between March to May led to no further action.”

I Am Birmingham has reached out to the WMPCC and is awaiting a reply.

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