|Born||Jamshid Ali Dizaei
|Spouse(s)||Natalie Downing (1986-2005)
Jamshid Ali Dizaei (Persian: جمشید علی دیزایی, Jamshīd ʿAlī Dizaī; Persian pronunciation: [dizɒːjiː]) (born 1962) is a former Commander in London's Metropolitan Police Service, Iranian-born with dual nationality, and formerly one of Britain's more senior Muslim police officers, Dizaei came to prominence as a result of his outspoken views on racial discrimination in the London Metropolitan Police and various allegations of malpractice on his part. He was jailed for perverting the course of justice in February 2010. Although he was later released on appeal he was eventually re-convicted and re-sentenced on 13 February 2012 and a further appeal was unsuccessful.
He had received advancement after his criticism of the force following his claims of racism. He was a frequent media commentator on a variety of issues, mainly concerned with ethnicity and religion.
On 8 February 2010, he was convicted in the Crown Court before Mr Justice Simon on charges of perverting the course of justice and of misconduct in a public office, and was jailed for four years. He had been suspended on full pay since September 2008 and on 31 March 2010 was formally dismissed from the Metropolitan Police.
Dizaei was initially imprisoned at HMP Edmunds Hill, Suffolk. He was seriously assaulted by other inmates and moved to HMP Usk. He said he was also subject of an attack by another inmate in Prescoed Prison. He claimed inmates wrote threatening remarks on his family photographs and placed excrement on his belongings.
On 16 May 2011, Dizaei's appeal against this conviction was successful and the conviction was quashed.
In the Court of Appeal Lord Justice Hughes said that the court "simply [did] not know whether this conviction is soundly based or not". He continued, "In those circumstances we are driven to the conclusion that it cannot be regarded as safe." Dizaei's claim after his release was that he "left prison with his integrity completely intact". He described his experience in prison as 'hell', and likened it to 'putting your hand in a wasps' nest'. He publicly thanked his wife for exposing the false identity of Waad Al Baghdadi and his benefit fraud.
In September 2011 Dizaei was successful in an appeal against his dismissal from the Metropolitan Police, since his conviction had been quashed by the Court of Appeal. However he did not return to duty, but remained suspended pending his forthcoming retrial in the Crown Court on charges of misconduct in public office and perverting the course of justice.
On a retrial in the Crown Court at Southwark before Mr Justice Saunders, concluding on 13 February 2012, Dizaei was again found guilty of perverting the course of justice and of misconduct in a public office. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment. On 15 May 2012 he was dismissed from the Metropolitan Police.
Dizaei appealed to the Court of Appeal, but on 14 February 2013 his appeal was dismissed. The Lord Chief Justice said that 'the guilty verdict was fully justified' and that the conviction 'was and remains safe'.
- 1 Early life and career to 2000
- 2 Controversies
- 3 Articles about policing
- 4 Personal life
- 5 References
- 6 Further reading
Early life and career to 2000
Dizaei was born in Tehran, Iran where his father was a deputy commissioner of police. He moved to the UK in 1973. He was educated at Slindon College a private boarding school in Arundel, West Sussex. Dizaei studied law at university, gaining a BA (Hons) and LLM in Law from City University London and a diploma in policing from Cambridge University later gaining a PhD from Brunel University and joined Thames Valley Police in 1986. He served in Henley-on-Thames, in uniform and in 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 Service (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 Kensington 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.
From 2000, Dizaei was investigated by the force after allegations of taking bribes, using drugs and prostitutes, and spying for Iran. 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, too flamboyant, visited expensive nightclubs and had an open marriage, none of which endeared him to other officers. The investigations, codenamed Operation Helios, cost £7 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 London 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. He was welcomed back by Commissioner Sir John Stevens.
The National Black Police Association (NBPA), of which Dizaei was at the time national president (having previously been vice-chairman and 'legal adviser'), called for an independent inquiry into the MPS's investigation. The Morris Inquiry headed by Lord Morris concluded that the investigation was disproportionate, unfocused and that the officer's race played a part in the manner in which the investigation was conducted.
Racial discrimination claims
Dizaei brought his own claim for racial discrimination in the conduct of the investigations by the MPS. This was withdrawn in 2003 after the MPS paid him a reported £80,000 and reinstated him.
In 2004, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) described Operation Helios as having been "seriously flawed". Dizaei eventually faced a minor disciplinary action, having been cleared of all criminal charges. The MPS issued a public statement that Dizaei returned to work with his "integrity demonstrably intact".
Dizaei was promoted to Chief Superintendent in May 2004 and became Borough Commander of Hounslow and later Borough Commander of Hammersmith and Fulham. In 2006 he was in the headlines again for criticising the Forest Gate raid 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 2008, Dizaei commenced Employment Tribunal proceedings against Catherine Crawford (the Chief Executive of the Metropolitan Police Authority), Sir Paul Stephenson and others, claiming that they had specifically targeted him for being an outspoken critic of their record on race and for Dizaei supporting Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur in his race discrimination claim against Paul Stephenson and Ian Blair. The claim is on-going and due to be heard in the near future.
Not One of Us
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 in The Times.
In March 2008, and at the third attempt, 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.
Dizaei claimed that this was a malicious complaint brought about by Lord MacKenzie to further his business interests. MacKenzie was rebuked by the Black Rod for using the House of Lords letterhead to make his complaint against Dizaei.
Yas Restaurant and criminal convictions
Dizaei was suspended again on 18 September 2008 after being investigated for various allegations including an arrest he made on 18 July 2008 outside his uncle's West London restaurant. A 24-year-old web designer, Waad al-Baghdadi, claimed that Dizaei had not paid £600 for a website he had commissioned and when Baghdadi confronted him about this, a public quarrel ensued. Dizaei arrested Baghdadi, who later made a complaint which was investigated by the IPCC.
On 21 May 2009, the Crown Prosecution Service announced that Dizaei faced two criminal charges. He was again charged with perverting the course of justice and misconduct in a public office. The charges related to the incident (above) in which Dizaei had arrested Waad al-Baghdadi. 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."
The matter duly came to trial in the Crown Court at Southwark in January 2010 before the Hon Mr Justice Simon, with Dizaei facing counts of misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice.
On 8 February 2010, Dizaei was found guilty on both counts, and jailed for four years. On 22 June 2010 he was duly refused leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division. He had sought to appeal against both conviction and sentence. The grounds of the proposed appeal were that al-Baghdadi had used a false name and nationality.
On 16 May 2011, the Court of Appeal granted leave to appeal and allowed the appeal, quashing the convictions. Lord Justice Hughes, Vice-President of the Court of Appeal said that the court "simply [did] not know whether this conviction is soundly based or not". He continued, "In those circumstances we are driven to the conclusion that it cannot be regarded as safe." This was despite the fact that Waad Al Baghdadi was at this stage only suspected of being a benefit fraudster. A re-trial was ordered. Dizaei was released with immediate effect.
Dizaei subsequently said that he wished to clear his name and expressed his desire to rejoin Scotland Yard as a Commander.
On 27 June 2011, the key witness in the quashed conviction of Dizaei, Waad Al-Baghdadi, was charged with benefit fraud (in excess of £27,000), which included false disability claims in the name of his deceased father.
On 3 July 2011, the Sunday Times reported an allegation that police pressurised a young Muslim woman to withdraw her allegation of rape against Waad Al-Baghdadi. On 13 February 2012, Al-Baghdadi was arrested and bailed in relation to an alleged serious assault in September 2009 and an investigation was reopened into allegations that he raped a young Muslim woman in April and September 2010.
On Friday 1 October 2011, Dizaei was reinstated after a Police Appeals Tribunal meeting gave a unanimous decision in favour of his reinstatement to the rank of Commander in the Metropolitan Police. It was decided by the MPA that Dizaei would still be suspended on full pay. Dizaei said that he would appeal that decision, claiming that he would prefer to work for his salary. He remained suspended until re-conviction in February 2012.
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.
Allegations of credit card misuse
In 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. Dizaei maintained that the allegations were without foundation. On 20 November 2009, after a 14-month investigation the IPCC found no evidence of dishonesty or impropriety. The IPCC managed investigation revealed that Dizaei was in fact owed £1,850, which was repaid to him by the Metropolitan Police Authority
News of the World payment and apology
On 27 December 2009, Dizaei accepted a substantial payment and an apology from the News of the World for allegations arising from an investigation by Mazher Mahmood. The paper backed down and apologised in the face of legal action from Dizaei, after Mahmood claimed the officer "employed an illegal immigrant as his right-hand man and took him to the heart of the British establishment." The paper paid Ace Bakhtyari, who was subsequently jailed for having a fake passport and deported from the UK.
Between 2000 - 2001 Andy Hayman (former Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police) permitted Dizaei's telephone calls to be intercepted and transcribed as part of Operation Helios. In 2006, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruled that 3,500 calls were 'unlawfully' intercepted. The Commissioner Ian Blair apologised. On 20 May 2011 Dizaei was informed that he may possibly have been subject to phone hacking by News of the World.
Retrial and reconviction
The retrial of Dizaei on charges of corruption and perverting the course of justice began in the Crown Court at Southwark on 12 January 2012 before Mr Justice Saunders. The prosecution claimed that his actions amounted to a wholesale abuse of power for his own personal and oblique reasons.
One prosecution witness, Waad Al Baghdadi, told the jury that he had recently been released from prison for claiming over £27,000 in the name of his dead father. He also admitted lying about his identity at the previous trial. During the retrial, the judge told Al Baghdadi that he was entitled not to answer questions that may incriminate him.
On 25 January 2012 the prosecution adduced medical evidence suggesting that Dizaei had faked physical injuries to make it look as though he had been assaulted.
On 31 January 2012, Dizaei gave evidence, relating his version of the events before, during and after the incident of 18 July 2008. He said that Mr Baghdadi's 'torrent of abuse' had frightened Mr Dizaei's wife and other bystanders. Dizaei said that he had warned Mr Baghdadi and asked him to leave, but arrested him as a result of his continued abuse and threatening behaviour. In addition to this, Dizaei claimed that Baghdadi pushed him and poked him twice with the mouthpiece of a shisha pipe. Dizaei also said that Baghdadi is a 'dishonest liar'.
The trial continued and the jury retired to consider its verdict on 9 February 2012.
On 13 February 2012 Dizaei was again convicted of misconduct in public office and attempting to pervert the course of justice. The jury's verdict was unanimous. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment on each count. Since time he had already served in prison as a result of his earlier conviction is to be taken into account against his sentence, he was expected to be released on licence after about three months. However, he was in fact released on licence, wearing an electronic tag, in early March 2012.
On 4 July 2012, Dizaei was granted leave to appeal for the second time. On 14 February 2013, this appeal was dismissed. The Lord Chief Justice said that 'the guilty verdict was fully justified' and that the conviction 'was and remains safe'.
Articles about policing
He was married in August 1986 in Reading, Berkshire to Natalie Downing. He has three sons by her; Kamran, Kayvon, and Kourosh. Dizaei and Downing were married for 19 years, divorcing in 2005. His current wife is Shahameh, known as Shy, whom he married in August 2007 in Ealing. He has adopted her son Erfan.
- Telegraph profile
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- 'Teflon' commander brought down by his own arrogance
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- "Integrity Completely Intact", Daily Mirror 16 May 2011
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- "Dizaei to get temporary promotion", BBC News, 22 April 2004
- "Officer demands critical analysis", BBC News, 14 June 2006
- "Police row over travel profiles", BBC News, 20 August 2006
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- Vikram Dodd (16 September 2011). "Rape allegation 'brushed off' by Met police, claims woman". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 16 February 2012.
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- Muir, Hugh (28 December 2009). "News of the World pays out to Ali Dizaei over false allegations". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 23 April 2010.
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- "My husband's mistresses come and go but I don't care; Speaking for the first time, the wife of controversial police officer Ali Dizaei reveals the truth about her open marriage". The Daily Mail (London). 2003.[dead link]
- See You in Court, 5 April 2011
- Not One of Us: The Trial that Changed Policing in Britain Forever, by Ali Dizaei & Tim Phillips, March 2007