Scotland Yard's first black police officer rails against Met racism

‘I’m writing about 1967 and it’s the same stuff in 2022’: Scotland Yard’s first black police officer who wrote about horrific racial abuse he suffered on force in the 60s calls on Met’s new chief to be ‘bold’ to root out racists

  • Norwell Roberts was racially abused while working at Bow Street police station
  • Amalgamated into Charing Cross – the centre of a scandal over via WhatsApps
  • Mr Roberts called for a zero-tolerance approach towards officer misconduct 

Scotland Yard’s first black police officer who wrote about the horrific racial abuse he suffered during his time in the force in the 1960s has said recent scandals in the Met make him question whether anything has been learnt. 

Retired detective sergeant Norwell Roberts, 76, signed up in 1967 and was repeatedly abused while working at Bow Street police station.

The station was amalgamated into Charing Cross, where officers were recently caught exchanging vile WhatsApp messages. 

He said the process of written a new book, I am Nowell Roberts, had ‘brought back stuff I’d rather not remember’. 

Retired detective sergeant Norwell Roberts, 76, signed up in 1967 and was repeatedly abused while working at Bow Street police station

Speaking to the Standard, he added: “I’m writing about 1967 and it’s the same stuff in 2022, what have we learnt?’ 

Mr Roberts is demanding a zero-tolerance approach towards officers who are racist, sexist, homophobic or corrupt.

New Met commissioner Mark Rowley has vowed to be ‘ruthless’ in tackling misconduct, admitting the force had been too ‘weak’ in the past.  

Mr Roberts said: “He has to mean what he says – if you’re going to root something out like racism, just do it. 

‘Be strong. You’ve got to be bold to gain the respect of your men and women. It was hard at the time for me and I think I handled it just about right.

New Met commissioner Mark Rowley has vowed to be ‘ruthless’ in tackling misconduct, admitting the force had been too ‘weak’ in the past

‘I couldn’t talk to the sergeants or inspectors – no one would listen to me.’

Mr Roberts recalled one incident when his sergeant called him a ‘n*****’ and vowed to stop him from ever finishing his probation. 

It comes as appalling memes shared on a WhatsApp group containing serving and retired Met policemen emerged online yesterday. 

Mr Roberts said the process of written a new book, I am Nowell Roberts, had ‘brought back stuff I’d rather not remember’

Images seen by MailOnline make discriminatory jokes about black Londoners, the shooting of a BLM activist, the murder of George Floyd, the plight of domestic violence victims and Shamima Begum joining Scotland Yard as Commissioner in a burka-uniform.

Former Met Police officer Rob Lewis has been suspended from his UK Border Force job over ‘abhorrent’ texts by him and others, with some alleged to include the repeated use of the word ‘P*ki’.

Members of the chat group he is alleged to have set up include policemen who served in the same unit as PC Wayne Couzens. 

Serving police officers were part of the group until recently – many, but not all, left following the murder of Sarah Everard, it is said.

The chat, running for the past 12 years, contains ‘vile and deplorable’ messages and memes about Harry and Meghan, the Government’s policy to deport migrants to Rwanda for processing, slurs about black MPs and at least one joke about the recent devastating flooding in Pakistan, where 1,700 have died and millions were displaced.

Sir Mark was chosen for the £293,000-a-year job after Dame Cressida Dick was ousted in February following scandals including the murder of Sarah Everard by an officer and the jailing of two officers who photographed dead bodies. 

The force was recently put into special measures.

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