5:09pm Tuesday 17th April 2012
© Press Association 2013
A Scotland Yard officer accused of racially abusing a suspect is due to be charged after a U-turn by prosecutors.
Both the alleged victim and Britain's top police officer have welcomed the Crown Prosecution Service's decision to take Pc Alex MacFarlane to court.
Reviewing lawyers watched footage appearing to show the officer say to 21-year-old Mauro Demetrio: "The problem with you is you will always be a n*****, yeah?"
Alison Saunders, chief prosecutor for London, said the original CPS decision was "regrettable", adding that a prosecution was necessary to maintain public confidence.
Mr Demetrio said he was "relieved that some action is now being taken" before adding: "I hope now to see justice."
The charging decision hinged on mobile phone footage, allegedly taken by Mr Demetrio, from Beckton, east London, in the wake of the riots last August. Mr Demetrio was held on suspicion of drug-driving but no action was taken.
The CPS announcement came after the police watchdog announced a review of a string of complaints about racism at the Metropolitan Police, warning of the risks of "much wider disaffection and dissatisfaction" with the force.
Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said he was pleased that prosecutors had reviewed their original decision. Giving evidence to the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, Mr Hogan-Howe also stressed that at the moment the claims were only allegations. "We have to let the criminal case take its course," he said, adding: "I'm glad that it will be tested in court."
Ms Saunders said she had advised the Independent Police Complaints Commission to charge Pc MacFarlane with a public order offence after the review.
Another allegation of abuse by a police officer against a youth at Forest Gate police station remains under consideration, the CPS said. There are now 11 separate allegations under investigation, involving 10 police officers.
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