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Commander Dr Ali Dizaei (born c.1962) is a senior officer in the Londonmarker Metropolitan Police. An Iranianmarker-born Muslim with dual nationality, he came to prominence after an inquiry into various allegations of malpractice (for many of which he has been exonerated). He is a frequent media commentator on a variety of issues, mainly concerned with ethnicity and religion.

Early life and career to 2000

Dr Dizaei's father was a deputy commissioner of police in Tehranmarker. Dizaei was educated at a private boarding school in Arundelmarker, West Sussexmarker; this was the wish of his father, who believed that the only way his sons would truly succeed was through a good Britishmarker education. Dizaei studied law at university, later gaining a PhD, and joined Thames Valley Police in 1986. He served in Henley-on-Thamesmarker, in uniform and the Criminal Investigation Department, rising to the rank of Chief Inspector. He was appointed an adviser on race issues to the Home Secretary, and then transferred to the Metropolitan Police(MPS) on promotion to Superintendent on 29 March 1999 as a staff officer to Assistant Commissioner Ian Johnston. On 17 May 1999 he was transferred to Kensingtonmarker police station and on 3 April 2000 became Superintendent Operations there. He was already outspoken on race issues, first coming to media attention in November 1999 for his criticism of questions asked in promotion exams.

Controversy

From 2000, Dizaei was investigated by the force after allegations of taking bribes, using drugs and prostitutes, and even spying for Iranmarker. There were counter-allegations by his supporters that the investigation was prompted by the belief of some senior officers that he was too ambitious, too critical of the police (particularly relating to racism), too close to the Iranian community, and too flamboyant. He visited expensive nightclubs, and had an "open marriage"; none of which endeared him to other officers. The investigations, codenamed Operation Helios, cost £4 million and involved over 50 officers. It was the most expensive operation against a single officer in the history of Scotland Yard

Dizaei was suspended on 18 January 2001. He was charged with perverting the course of justice, misconduct in public office, and submitting false mileage expense claims.

Dizaei was tried before the Recorder of Londonmarker for misconduct in public office and perverting the course of justice. This arose out of an incident which occurred on 6 September 2000. The jury cleared Dizaei of the charges on 15 September 2003. The Crown Prosecution Service decided not to proceed with the charges of making false mileage expense claims.

The NBPA, of which Dizaei is national president (he was previously vice-chairman and legal adviser), called for a full independent inquiry into the MPS's investigation. The Morris Inquiry headed by Lord Morris concluded that the investigation was disproportionate, unfocused and the officer's race and ethnicity played a part in the manner the investigation was conducted.

Dizaei brought his own claim for race discrimination in the conduct of the investigations by the MPS which was withdrawn in 2003 after the MPS paid Dizaei a reported £80,000 and reinstated him.

In 2004, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) called the investigation (operation Helios) "seriously flawed". Dizaei eventually faced a minor disciplinary action, having been cleared of all criminal charges or any other misdemeanour. The MPS issued a public statement that Dizaei returns to work with his "integrity demonstrably intact"

Dizaei was promoted to Chief Superintendent in May 2004 and became Borough Commander of Hounslowmarker. He is now Borough Commander of Hammersmith and Fulhammarker. In 2006 he was in the headlines again for criticising the Forest Gate raidmarker and passenger profiling on aircraft. The Police Federation has accused him of "blissful ignorance" for the latter.

In December 2006, it was made public that during Operation Helios the MPS had unlawfully tapped over 3,500 private calls made by Dizaei. The ruling was made by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal after referral by the NBPA.

In March 2007, Dizaei published Not One of Us, an account of his police career to date, and of the Operation Helios investigation. Prior to publication, the MPS issued a statement noting that it "considers it a matter of regret that Chief Superintendent Dizaei has felt it necessary to write this book", and reiterating its support for the Helios team.. Upon release the book was serialised on BBC Radio 4 and the Times

In June 2007, Sir Ian Blair apologised for Operation Helios, after the MPS and the NBPA agreed to resolve disputes arising out of Helios.

In March 2008, and at the third attempt, Dr Ali Dizaei was promoted to the rank of Commander.

On 12 September 2008 the MPS announced that Dizaei was the subject of a complaint alleging that he had improperly provided advice to solicitors defending a woman accused over a fatal hit-and-run accident. The Metropolitan Police Authority is to investigate the alleged misconduct, which Dizaei denies.

He was suspended again on 18 September 2008 after being investigated for various allegations including an arrest he made outside his uncle's West London restaurant. The arrested man later made a complaint that is being investigated by the IPCC.

On 21 May 2009, prosecutors stated that Ali Dizaei is now facing two charges over an incident in a restaurant. The Crown Prosecution Service said he was charged with perverting the course of justice and misconduct in a public office. The charges relate to an incident in which Mr Dizaei, in his capacity as a police officer, arrested a man on allegations including assault. A decision not to charge that individual was made by the CPS in August 2008. In a statement, the NBPA said: "It is outrageous that the CPS, for the second time in four years, has commenced prosecution against the president of the National Black Police Association, Commander Ali Dizaei. This has not happened to any other senior police officer in the history of the MPS or the CPS.

In September 2009 Dizaei won a High Court action against the Daily Mail and the Evening Standard over a defamatory article published in June 2008. The newspapers were forced to issue an apology and pay substantial costs and damages. On receipt of the apology he issued further proceedings against the Daily Mail for an allegedly defamatory article published in September 2008 suggesting that Dizaei advised a lawyer over a criminal case.

On September 2008 he was accused by the Metropolitan Police Authority of using his corporate credit card inappropriately and his conduct was investigated by the Chief Constable of Dorset and the IPCC. Dr Dizaei had always maintained that the allegations were baseless and without foundation. On 20 November 2009 and after a 14 month investigation the IPCC found no evidence of misconduct or impropriety and stated publicly that he had no case to answer.

References

Further reading

  • Not One of Us: The Trial that Changed Policing in Britain Forever, by Ali Dizaei & Tim Phillips, March 2007



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