Met police sergeant ‘mocked black Grenfell residents for being too ‘thick’ to escape burning tower block’ disciplinary hearing is told
- Paul Robinson, 38, a custody sergeant for the Met police was allegedly overheard making racially offensive comments in a pub in Victoria, London
- Robinson allegedly made fun of the black Grenfell residents for being ‘thick’
- He is facing a disciplinary hearing for misconduct and gross misconduct over the allegations, which he denies
A Met police sergeant allegedly made fun of black Grenfell residents who died in the fire for being too ‘think’ to get out of the burning tower block.
Paul Robinson, 38, a custody sergeant at Charing Cross Police Station, was allegedly overheard making racially offensive comments in the Victoria pub in Victoria, London, on November 6, 2019.
Robinson is facing misconduct or gross misconduct allegations for discreditable behaviour at a Metropolitan Police Disciplinary Hearing in Fulham, southwest London. He has denied the allegations.
A Met police sergeant allegedly made fun of black Grenfell residents who died in the fire for being too ‘think’ to get out of the burning tower block. Pictured: The Grenfell tower block alight in 2017
The independent panel heard how former Telegraph reporter Edward Klaus, who was sat near Robinson and his former colleague Phil Jones in the pub at the time, filed an official complaint after overhearing the racist remarks.
Giving evidence, Mr Klaus said: ‘The conversation between two gentlemen caught my attention, specifically the comment about black football managers or the lack of black football managers.
‘The comment was made by Mr Robinson that there were so few black football managers because they were lazy and thick.
‘Remarks were made by Mr Robinson about Africa and the Africans being better off under colonial rule versus independence.
‘He said they were better off under colonial rule and that since colonial rule ended under Mugabe… things have been much, much worse and full of famine and poverty now. Essentially, ‘Look at it now, it is a s***hole’.’
Moving on to comments about Grenfell, Mr Klaus continued: ‘The remarks were introduced by the subject of Jacob Rees-Mogg who had made comments about what had taken place at Grenfell and Mr Robinson had been generally agreeable saying, ‘I’m glad, someone had to say it, I agree with him, you’re thick if you stay’.’
Rees-Mogg had sparked controversy when discussing the Grenfell Tower fire on LBC radio.
The Conservative politician said: ‘And I think if either of us were in a fire, whatever the fire brigade said, we would leave the burning building.
‘It just seems the common sense thing to do.’
Mr Klaus told the panel: ‘Mr Robinson agreed with the comments and that he was glad that someone had said them.
‘He said if it had been Asians they would have left, if it had been whites they would have left.
‘He then said that the ‘threes’ were thick and didn’t think for themselves and it was hilarious, Jacob Rees-Mogg’s comments. They thought it was funny.’
Robinson is facing misconduct or gross misconduct allegations for discreditable behaviour at a Metropolitan Police Disciplinary Hearing in Fulham, southwest London. He has denied the allegations. Pictured: Firefighters continue to deal with the remains of Grenfell Tower in 2017
The former Telegraph reporter explained that Robinson’s repeated use of the term ‘threes’ caught his attention, as he recognised it as a police classification for a black person.
He added that it was this term that made him believe the two men were police officers, along with a discussion about the police pension scheme.
‘I wanted to tell them what they were saying was disgusting and extremely offensive,’ Mr Klaus continued.
‘I pretended to be on a phone call and stood up to leave…and took a photo as I was standing there.’
The witness did not confront Robinson and Mr Jones but filed an official complaint with the Metropolitan Police that evening.
Robinson told the hearing he Met Police service in May 2004 and became a custody sergeant, fulfilling his ‘boyhood dream’, in August 2019.
He told the panel how he has worked in the diverse areas of Lambeth and West Croydon with colleagues from ‘all corners of the world’.
Robinson said he was ‘absolutely not’ a racist. ‘I have never used discriminatory language in my entire life and never will,’ he said.
When asked if it was possible that he used the term ‘lazy and thick’ he said: ‘Yes in the All Blacks performance against England. England had defeated the All Blacks in the semi-final of the rugby World Cup.
‘They were sh*t. They were lazy,’ Robinson told the hearing today. ‘It was the All Black’s worst performance in 10 years.’
Robinson denied making any derogatory comments about those who had died at Grenfell
Confronted next with the alleged comments about Grenfell Tower, Robinson confirmed that he had been on duty as part of the aftermath of the disaster.
He described the scene as ‘horrific’.
‘At Grenfell Tower, I didn’t feel like a police officer I just felt like a member of the community,’ Robinson said.
In the middle of his evidence, the panel had to retire to give Robinson some time to compose himself, as he had grown overcome with emotion to the point that he was unable to answer questions.
A statement from the inspector overseeing Robinson attending the tragedy was read out when the panel returned.
He said: ‘We could see the tower still smoking. Paul was an officer on that call. A member of the public came up to Robinson and began shouting abuse.
‘He let fly a torrent of abuse. I stood and looked at him [Paul] and could see his eyes welling up. He hugged the man who suddenly cried.
‘He thanked Paul for his compassion and left. The male was of a BAME background.’
Robinson denied making any derogatory comments about those who had died at Grenfell.
‘None whatsoever,’ he said. ‘I never would have.’
Furthermore, he said he did not know who Jacob Rees-Mogg was. Robinson said: ‘I was talking about my son Jacob, but I do not know who Jacob Rees-Mogg is…’
Mr Jones, who was at the pub with Robinson on the evening in question, also gave evidence.
Already retired at the time of the incident, Mr Jones had previously been Robinson’s supervisor, and said that he never had any concerns about the younger sergeant’s integrity or about him using discriminatory language.
He told the panel that they did not speak about football, Africa-beyond the South African rugby team or Grenfell and denied that Robinson made any of the comments that earned him the allegations.
Asked to put forward a reaction if Robinson had indeed said such remarks, Mr Jones said: ‘I would have just turned and gone home.
‘I would have said it’s unacceptable you can’t talk like that in front of me and I think we need to call it a night.’
Robinson, from South Wales, denies making racially offensive comments.
The hearing continues.
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