"That was the openly misogynistic culture in the police"
The former top female Asian officer within the Met Police is suing the force in a £500,000 racism claim.
Superintendent Nusrit Mehtab was once a poster girl for the force and even starred in a TV show named Mehtab of the Met that followed her work in London’s East End.
She became the most senior female ethnic minority officer in the Met Police.
However, in January 2020, after 32 years in the force, Miss Mehtab quit, complaining of a “toxic workplace” with sexism and institutional racism.
She said that behind the scenes, Scotland Yard only paid “lip service” to diversity and officers secretly hushed up a “racism graffiti campaign”, telling her to keep quiet after a swastika was drawn on the walls of her police station in Edmonton, north London, in February 2019.
Miss Mehtab claimed that senior white female officers “huddled together like Mean Girls”.
According to legal papers, when she went to work in Tower Hamlets in 1988, “the traditional induction greeting for newly-arrived female officers was to have their breast and bottoms stamped with the office stamp”.
She went on to say:
“In my case, the white male officers did not know how to initiate me.
“They put their minds to it and set a trap, they left a vibrator in my locker and congregated to watch me open my locker, thrilled with their ingenuity and sniggering.
“That was the openly misogynistic culture in the police then.”
Miss Mehtab claims she was forced to patrol alone because of her race. She also alleged that white male colleagues refused to talk to or sit next to her, which she likened to being ignored by children.
Due to her religion, she refused to wear a uniformed skirt and was forced to wear trousers made for a male officer.
In February 2019, Miss Mehtab reported a swastika in an area of the police station that is accessible only to staff.
According to papers lodged at an employment tribunal, Scotland Yard bosses told her to “keep quiet” about the discovery and blamed builders.
An investigation was launched but the perpetrator was never found. Miss Mehtab said she feared there was a “Far-Right” sympathiser and the “likelihood was that it was a police officer”.
She said it was part of a “racist graffiti campaign”, which included a penis being drawn on a photograph of an Asian superintendent months earlier.
Now, Miss Mehtab is bringing a claim against the Met Police, claiming constructive dismissal, race, sex and religious discrimination, harassment and victimisation.
She is seeking around £500,000 for lost earnings, pension and injury to feelings.
She claimed her promotions were slow due to sexism and racism.
According to Miss Mehtab, when she was made an inspector, she overheard a colleague say:
“You’ll never believe it. The Doris has passed. How the hell did that happen? How did you let it happen?”
She accused Commissioner Cressida Dick of failing to tackle the problem, saying she “protects the racist working environment by supporting racist officers”.
Scotland Yard is contesting the legal action brought by Miss Mehtab.