In Brief

Met officer arrested on suspicion of far-right links

Counterterrorism officers raid home in north London amid concerns about racism within the force

A serving front-line police officer has been arrested on suspicion of being a member of a banned neo-Nazi terrorist group.

Counterterrorism officers raided a home in north London and detained the Metropolitan Police constable on Thursday. They continued to search the property overnight.

The Met said that the officer’s status was under review, and the case had been referred to the Independent Office of Police Conduct.

“Whilst the investigation remains ongoing, at this time there is nothing to suggest there is any threat to wider public safety in relation to this matter,” the force said in a statement.

Earlier this year, police chiefs admitted they have been too slow to boost diversity. Just 7% of officers in England and Wales are from ethnic minorities, compared with 14% of the population. 

Attention has also turned to how police recruiters can prevent racists from joining the force. 

According to The Guardian, “white nationalists pervade law enforcement”, with a “long history of the military, police and other authorities supporting, protecting or even being members of white supremacy groups”. 

Last summer, the UK’s most senior counterterror officer said Boris Johnson would be barred from joining the police because of his remarks describing black people as “piccaninnies” and comparing Muslim women to “letterboxes”.

Asked whether someone would be allowed to join a UK force if they had made the same comments, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said: “No, they wouldn’t be recruited into policing.”

A job advert for West Midlands Police says tattoos are considered “unacceptable” if they “indicate alignment with a particular group that could cause offence to members of the public or colleagues” or are considered to be racist.

The ad also states that “the Police Service strictly prohibits any of their officers or staff from becoming members of organisations whose aims and objectives may contradict the duty to promote race equality,” such as “the BNP, National Front or Combat 18”.

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