Black Met inspector stopped by police while driving home from work

Policing’s race crisis continued with claims that a senior black officer has been targeted by junior white colleagues, with the force then failing to take his complaint seriously enough.

Inspector Charles Ehikioya, who was stopped while driving off duty, says he plans to sue his own force, the Metropolitan, for racial harassment. The incident happened in May and Ehikioya decided to go public after attempts to resolve his complaints internally failed.

No action was taken against Ehikioya after the stop and the next day, 23 May, he formally complained to his superiors. The Met says the officers who stopped Ehikioya did nothing wrong.

Ehikioya, 55, said he recorded the incident, which happened as he returned from work in south London. The Met inspector said he could see that an officer’s body-worn camera was not switched on.

He told BBC Radio that he was pulled over for no other reason than being black. He said he was suing the Met for racial harassment as he had “no choice” because his complaint had not been taken seriously.

Ehikioya said: “In my view it’s not the whole organisation that’s like that, it’s only a few individuals that are causing this issue. It’s just sad that some people don’t want to hear it … I feel that has not been taken seriously and has not been listened to, but instead I am being persecuted, and I am not prepared to sit quietly. Therefore I have no choice but to react in the way I am reacting. Enough talk – action speaks louder than words.”

One of the officers said Ehikioya had been stopped because of his speed and because “it looked like he had gone through a red light”. The officer asked Ehikioya for his driving licence as well as proof he was insured to drive the car, that the vehicle had not been stolen, that he was not intoxicated and that he not been using his phone.

He said Ehikioya’s driving was “unusual”, which the inspector strongly disputed, according to the recording. The inspector was also accused of being obstructive, and the 22-year veteran of the force said : “These were alleged offences that could have ended my whole career.”

The two officers left the scene after Ehikioya told them he was a serving colleague and showed them his police badge.

Ehikioya said: “I believed I was racially profiled and received no apology. I have kids and a grandson. I would not want them treated like this.”

A series of incidents have raised questions about British policing’s race record and treatment of black people especially.

Champion athletes including Bianca Williams have complained after being stopped, handcuffed and found innocent. Last weekend a car containing Labour MP Dawn Butler was stopped and she said she had been racially profiled.

Andrew George, president of the National Black Police Association, said the stop of Butler was rooted in systemic racism that is damaging the legitimacy of policing, and also called for urgent reform of “a biased system that views black people as criminals or drug dealers”.

In a statement, the Met said of the stop of its own inspector: “On Saturday 23 May 2020, a driver was stopped by police while driving his vehicle. The driver, who is a black man, alleged that the stop was the result of racial profiling. As is usual practice, local enquiries were undertaken by the Professional Standards Unit.

“Enquiries established that the vehicle was followed by officers prior to the stop due to suspicion of excessive speed at a traffic signal and onward. As part of these enquiries, body-worn video [BWV] of the stop was viewed.

“The BWV of the stop showed that the officers communicated their reasons/cause for the stop to the complainant as they are required to do. The review found no evidence of misconduct. No action was taken against the man stopped.”