As reported in The Press, Commander Ali Dizaei, of the Metropolitan Police Force, speaking at the Black Police Association’s national conference in York, called for positive discrimination in favour of ethnic minorities. He said such a move would help to combat terrorism.
But Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell, the head of the North Yorkshire force, said that although there were plus points to positive discrimination, it could also be divisive.
He said positive discrimination had been talked about in the UK for a long time and had been tried by police forces in America with both positive and negative consequences.
Mr Maxwell said: “You’re not seen as an equal opportunities organisation and it does create disharmony among colleagues.
The Metropolitan Police Authority-said that its professional standards subcommittee had considered allegations concerning Commander Dizaei and decided to take action.
The suspension is likely to exacerbate racial tensions within the Metropolitan Police. Mr Dizaei has also been a key supporter of Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, the country’s most senior ethnic-minority officer, who was relieved of his duties this month. Mr Dizaei was privy to closely guarded details of Mr Ghaffur’s dossier of evidence of alleged racism and discrimination. He also spoke to the press on behalf of Mr Ghaffur as the dispute became increasingly acrimonious.
From 2000, Dizaei was investigated by the force after allegations of taking bribes, using drugs and prostitutes, and even spying for Iran. There were counter-allegations by his supporters that the investigation was prompted by the belief of some senior officers that he was too ambitious, too critical of the police (particularly relating to racism), too close to the Iranian community, and too flamboyant. He flouted uniform rules by wearing designer belts, sunglasses and cowboy boots, visited expensive nightclubs, and had an "open marriage", none of which endeared him to more conservative officers. The investigations, codenamed Operation Helios, officially cost £3 million.
Dizaei was suspended on 18 January 2001. Eventually, he was charged only with perverting the course of justice, misconduct in public office, and making false mileage expense claims. His supporters claimed that these relatively minor charges were made because no evidence could be found of any other wrongdoing and the Metropolitan Police wished to justify its very expensive investigation.
Dizaei was actually tried before the Recorder of London for misconduct in public office and perverting the course of justice. This arose out of an incident which occurred on 6 September 2000. His BMW, provided by the Metropolitan Police, was vandalised while parked at Emperor's Gate in Kensington, but Dizaei reported that the vandalism happened 0.8 miles away in Cope Place, near the police station. Unfortunately for him, he was already under surveillance by undercover officers, who knew where the car was parked. When this was put to him in the trial, Dizaei admitted that he had lied, but said that the damage had indeed occurred in Cope Place. He claimed he had noticed it when he returned to his car, but had then driven to Emperor's Gate (which was near an Underground station) to catch a train to a National Black Police Association (NBPA) meeting. He lied, he said, because he did not want his superiors to know he had attended the meeting. The jury cleared Dizaei of the charges on 15 September 2003. The Crown Prosecution Service decided not to proceed with the charges of making false mileage expense claims.
The NBPA, of which Dizaei is a leading member (he was vice-chairman and is now the president and legal adviser), called for a full independent investigation into the Metropolitan Police investigation, which has been referred to as a "witch hunt" and proof that racism still exists in the British police.
Dizaei brought his own claim for race discrimination in the conduct of the investigations by the Metropolitan Police which was withdrawn in 2003 after the Metropolitan Police paid Dizaei a reported £80,000 and reinstated him.
In 2004, the Independent Police Complaints Commission called the investigation "seriously flawed". Dizaei eventually only faced minor disciplinary action, having been cleared of all criminal charges or any other misdemeanour.
Dizaei was promoted to Chief Superintendent in May 2004 and became Borough Commander of Hounslow. He is now Borough Commander of Hammersmith and Fulham. In 2006 he was in the headlines again for criticising the Forest Gate raid and passenger profiling on aircraft. The Police Federation has accused him of "blissful ignorance" for the latter.
In December 2006, it was made public that during Operation Helios the Metropolitan Police had unlawfully tapped over 3,500 private calls made by Dizaei. The ruling was made by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal after referral by the Black Police Association.
In March 2007, Dizaei published Not One of Us, an account of his police career to date, and of the Operation Helios investigation. Prior to publication, the Metropolitan Police Service issued a statement noting that it "considers it a matter of regret that Chief Superintendent Dizaei has felt it necessary to write this book", and reiterating its support for the Helios team. . Upon release the book was serialised on BBC Radio 4.
In June 2007, Sir Ian Blair apologised for Operation Helios, after the Metropolitan Police and the Black Police Association agreed to resolve disputes arising out of Helios.
In March 2008, Ali Dizaei was promoted to the rank of Commander after three previous promotion attempts.
However, it was announced on 12 September 2008 that Dizaei was again the subject of a complaint, this time alleging that he had improperly provided advice to solicitors defending a woman accused over a fatal hit-and-run accident. The Metropolitan Police Association is to investigate the alleged misconduct, which Dizaei denies.
He was suspended again on 18 September 2008 after being investigated for various corruption charges including an arrest he made outside his uncle's West London restaurant. The arrested man later made a complaint that is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). He was also alleged to have used his Metropolitan Police credit card for personal shopping while on a trip to the United States.