Sikh police in key culture crimes scheme
London’s Metropolitan Police force is trialling what may prove to be a very contentious scheme whereby officers from ethnic minorities will be called in to advise investigating officers on cultural issues in criminal cases.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper reports that the scheme has been launched using Sikh officers, who have the backing of the recently formed Metropolitan Sikh Police Association (MSPA).
The Met says it would invite the involvement of staff from other minority groups such as Muslims, Hindus and Jews if the pilot scheme helps improve detection rates.
The organisation representing rank and file staff has not welcomed the idea, believing it could create a force within a force.
Peter Smythe, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said it could be a strain on the force, which is already overstretched. He said the Met had made a rod for their back with a ‘stupid, crazy scheme”. Having offered it to the Sikhs they would find it impossible to say no to others.
The MPSA has agreed to provide Sikh officers on demand to assist with investigations into culture based crimes like honour killings and forced narriages, says the Telegraph.
MPSA chairman Palbinder Singh told the newspaper that Sikh crime victims had been neglected in the past and their cases ignored because white police officers did not understand the “peculiarities” of Sikh culture.
The MPSA was providing officers to make sure criminals who committed cultural crimes were not allowed to slip through the net.
Peter Smythe believes the scheme will falter when there are not Sikh officers available for investigations. He called it political correctness gone mad.
Palbinder Singh said he did not believe in political correctness but the description did not apply to the scheme.
A Met Police spokesman said it was designed to encourage more Sikh crime victims to come forward and also to provide the most ethnically diverse city in the world with a police force that matched its needs.
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