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20Jun

Black and Blue by Parm Sandhu review – home truths about life in the Met

The police force’s former highest ranked BAME officer tells of her 30-year fight against entrenched racism and sexism

In August last year, when the Metropolitan police ended its active investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence after 27 years, the Met’s commissioner, Cressida Dick, gave an interview in which she rejected the idea that institutional racism still persists in the force. Former chief superintendent Parm Sandhu, the highest-ranked BAME (her preferred term) woman in the Met, begs to differ. Black and Blue is her account of a 30-year career that saw her break through multiple glass ceilings, but which ended in her resignation in 2019 after charges of gross misconduct and a spate of damaging media stories.

Her alleged offence was to have lobbied on her own behalf for honours, a technical breach she concedes, but she points out that she could not rely on the old boys’ network that benefits her white male colleagues. She was later exonerated, and notes that black and minority ethnic officers are twice as likely to be investigated for misconduct as their white counterparts.

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