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Will Kent police chief take over at the Met?

PUBLISHED: 18:32 08 October 2008 | UPDATED: 11:11 12 August 2010

INSPIRATIONAL’:  The Chief Constable of Kent, Mike Fuller.

INSPIRATIONAL': The Chief Constable of Kent, Mike Fuller.

A LEADING specialist cop says the UK s first black chief constable has turned around a racism problem in the Kent Police force and could do the same for the Met. Sergeant Balwinder Singh, chairman of the Kent Minority Ethnic Police Association (KMEPA),

A LEADING specialist cop says the UK's first black chief constable has turned around a racism problem in the Kent Police force and could do the same for the Met.

Sergeant Balwinder Singh, chairman of the Kent Minority Ethnic Police Association (KMEPA), said Kent Police's Mike Fuller has dramatically improved race relations in the county.

He also supported his comments made on BBC1's Panorama programme: 'The Secret Policeman Returns' on Monday, that black and ethnic minorities (BME) are not on a level playing field in the Metropolitan Police.

The 43-year-old said: "Mike Fuller has done a lot in Kent. It has gone from the second worst county for not recruiting black and ethnic minority police [BME] officers to the second best.

"Having Mike Fuller as a figurehead has been really positive for the minority officers. He is an inspiration."

The Met has recently been engulfed by a race row which has seen the force's two most senior ethnic minority officers, Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur and Commander Ali Dizaei, suspended.

Sir Ian Blair resigned as Metropolitan Police Commissioner last week.

It was just days before Panorama: 'The Secret Policeman Returns' took a look at racism within the Metropolitan Police, five years before the initial programme was aired. Information obtained under the Freedom of Information act revealed less BME officers have been subject to internal investigations than white officers in the last five years in Kent. One in every 11.5 white officers in Kent has been investigated, with that figure just one in every 91 for BME officers.

This contrasts with the Met, where one in every 44.23 white officers are investigated to one in every 17.18 for BME officers, revealing BME officers are over two times more likely to be investigated than their white counterparts.

Mr Singh added: " Mike Fuller would be very good for the Met Police. I am sure that, with his background, he will make it a fairer place to work. I am sure he would do an excellent job."

During the hour-long programme Chief Constable Mike Fuller told viewers: "I certainly do feel I've had to work harder than most. BME officers have to work, will often have to work, twice as hard to be recognised and really to compete with their peers and that is a big concern."

He added: "There have been a number of examples where people have tried to block my promotion or prevent me going, putting myself forward for promotion and I haven't accepted that."

Dev Sharma MBE, Director of a Kent Racial Equality Council also added his support to the Kent boss.

He said: " I meet with Mike quite regularly. He is fantastic. He's a straight forward, straight-talking guy. You always know where you are with him. He would be absolutely the right person for the job of Metropolitan Police Commissioner. He has got my vote."

Having joined the Met in 1975, Chief Constable Fuller served as a uniform officer and then detective before rising to deputy assistant commissioner and then taking up the top job at Kent Police 2004.

Speaking about his possible succession to the Met Commissioner, he said: "I am not going to be drawn into any speculation about whether I will apply for the role of Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

"My priority at the moment remains working on behalf of the people of Kent and Medway and Kent Police officers and staff."

Bromley police commander Charles Griggs said he was surprised at Sir Ian's resignation. He added: "I wish Sir Ian well and I can assure readers this will not affect our determination to deliver quality policing services to the people of Bromley borough." elizabeth.thornton@archant.co.uk

elizabeth.thornton@archant.co.uk

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