Asian police officer promoted to top position


Neil Basu, a senior Metropolitan police officer of Indian origin has been promoted to be the Assistant Commissioner for Special Operations, and will take over responsibility for leading counter-terrorism policing.

Basu, who currently serves as the Senior National Coordinator for counter terrorism policing, will be the first person of Asian descent to assume the new role. Mayor Sadiq Khan referred to Basu’s new position as “one of the toughest jobs in policing” in a supportive tweet. Basu has received praise from Khan as well as Cressida Dick, Commissioner for London’s Metropolitan Police, and home secretary Amber Rudd.

In Mayor Sadiq Khan’s recent racial pay audit, it was revealed that BME police officers are paid, on average, 16.7% less than their white counterparts. Many of the pay differences reported in Khan’s audit were due to BME workers being excluded from top positions. Basu’s appointment is a move away from that exclusion, though the Metropolitan Police is still largely dominated by white officers. According to their Diversity & Inclusion Report, 86.7% of their officers and 75% of their staff identified as white. This is disproportionate, as only 57.4% of London’s population is white. Further, of those in the Metropolitan Police’s top positions, only 2 (including Basu) are non-white.

Given the recent rise of terrorist attacks and threats in London, the necessity of strong counter terrorism efforts couldn’t be more relevant. In Basu’s current role, he oversees the Prevent strategy, aimed at protecting individuals considered vulnerable to joining violent extremist movements. Though described by the government as effective, critics of the strategy have described it as especially alienating Muslim individuals, as it encourages community members to report potentially suspicious behaviours.

Despite these critiques of the strategy, many feel confident that Basu is capable of rightly fulfilling his new role. Certainly the increase in BME representation among top Metropolitan Police is a very positive development.


Dominque Brodie