Tuesday, 14 February 2012


One of the worst cases of a police officer abusing the powers vested in him occurred in February 2010 when a Commander of the Metropolitan Police, Ali Dizaei was sentenced to four years at Southwark Crown Court for ‘misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice.’ Two of the years of his sentence were to be spent in prison; the other two on licence.

This might appear to be a mild sentence for Britain’s most senior Asian police officer, who had formerly been president of the Metropolitan Black Police Association. This is relevant because Dizaei had consistently criticised senior colleagues for presiding over and encouraging racism within the Met. (BBC News 8/2/2010). Ironically his transfer to the Metropolitan Police and promotion to superintendant came in the same year that the Force was accused of institutional racism after the murder of Stephen Lawrence. After arriving in his new post, Dizaei accused the force of ‘ethnic cleansing’ and by using ‘cultural biased tests to pick white officers for senior ranks.’ Under the title of Operation Helios, Dizaei was suspected of perverting the course of justice, misconduct in a public office and making false expenses claims, as far back as 2000 in an investigation costing £2.2m that was unrelated to the case for which he was jailed. After being suspended from duty for two years on full pay, he was brought to trial at the Old Bailey but cleared of all charges in the previous case. Other serving police officers had claimed that Ali Dizaei It has been a permanent thorn in their side and the Met came under criticism when they reportedly paid him £80,000 in damages after he had threatened to sue them for discrimination. He had also threatened to bring a similar unrelated action in December 2008. The former Met Commissioner Sir Ian Blair apologised after the case and said the inquiry had caused “considerable damage” to the force. Dizaei claimed there had been a campaign to: “destroy my life and my career” and accused very senior colleagues of spreading a “cancer of racism.” In 2006, after two Muslim brothers were questioned after an anti-terrorism raid, he questioned the need for ethnic profiling of airline passengers and said: “What you are suggesting is that we should have a new offence in this country called ‘travelling whilst Asian’.” 
In the 2010 case Dizaei was found guilty of assaulting and falsely arresting an Iraqi man in a dispute over a bill for £600 for work the man had done on the police officer’s personal website. The man claimed he had approached Dizaei to ask for the money he was owed after seeing him drunk and dancing at a Persian restaurant. Dizaei produced a pair of handcuffs and arrested the man, later claiming that the Iranian had assaulted him and left threats on his telephone answering machine.  Eight weeks after being jailed, Ali Dizaei was sacked from the Metropolitan Police although he will still receive his generous pension unless the Home Secretary intervenes to prevent it. In addition the tax payer is likely to foot the bill to cover the £60,000 costs of his case because Dizaei’s lawyers claim he has no money. In May 2011 Ali Dizaei was bailed and was granted a re-trial. Subsequently the previous verdict was overturned on appeal as ‘unsafe’ and Dizaei was released. At the time he told a press conference that he had left jail with “my integrity completely intact”. Yet at the retrial a second jury failed to believe the evidence and Dizaei was found guilty of corruption for the second time and was sent back to prison. It is comforting to know that this controversial character’s police career is now well and truly over.

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