A senior east London police officer has spoken of his experiences working for the Met Police to mark Black History Month.

Chief Inspector Brian Doamekpor, of East Area Command Unit, which covers Havering, Barking and Dagenham and Redbridge, has been part of the force for more than 20 years and is now on the verge of retirement.

In this feature, he tells this paper about how he started work for the Met, being in charge at the scene of the 2017 London Bridge terror attack and issues of racism and diversity.

From agriculture to Met Police

Ch Insp Doamekpor started his career within the Met in 2004 when he was first enrolled as a police constable in Bromley, south London. He joined at the age of 38 having done a degree in agriculture and worked within the Ministry of Agriculture.

As a business manager, he had sponsored a grassroots football team for Black kids to “get them off the streets” and his key contact at the time was a police officer who suggested he would be suitable as an officer himself.

Ch Insp Doamekpor said: “Back in my heyday I used to be a youth worker, so I kind of know how to deal with unruly children. He said 'do you have any spare time or free time on your hands?' I said I will think about it.

“I went to my family and asked what do they think? There were some negative sentiments from them just because of the way the police were perceived. There weren’t many black police officers to look up to at the time.

“So, they were a wee bit apprehensive of the idea of me being a police officer, but it was an itch I always wanted to scratch, and I have really enjoyed it since day one.”

Responding to a terrorist attack and a friend’s death

Sharing his journey as an officer, Ch Insp Doamekpor said he has worked in many different capacities within the Met over the years. He was an emergency response officer for most of his career, chasing criminals and surveying clubs and bars for any “naughtiness”.

The most hard-hitting part of his career, he said, was his time as an officer in charge of response teams in Westminster.

He said: “I dealt with one of the most poignant parts of my career while dealing with the London Bridge incident on June 3, 2017.

“I got there, and I was the most senior officer on the ground, so I took charge of it. I ran the scene for 25 hours straight with a few volunteer officers. That was quite a proud moment.

“One of my friends, PC Keith Palmer, was killed in another incident on Westminster Bridge in the attack on March 2017. Keith and I used to work together in Bromley for about eight years before he moved on to Westminster.

“When he was killed that had a huge impact on me as he died in the line of duty.”

Read More: Riding along with Met Police emergency officers in east London


Ch Insp Doamekpor claimed he had never faced any overt racism from colleagues in the Met Police.

He shared: “The only overtly racist incidents that I have had is when I have had to go and arrest someone. Whether it’s their bravado or anger, they start calling you all sorts of things.

“But I am happy to say that as soon as any racial slur is used and if I am with a partner, they straight away jump in and do the arrest.”

Diversity within the Met Police

Joining the Met Police as a young Black man was a “very lonely place”, Ch Insp Doamekpor revealed.

He said diversity within Met Police has risen over the years, adding: “There are admittedly not many in the higher ranks still but we have got quite a few police constables, sergeants, sub inspectors from minority backgrounds.

“The numbers are coming through. Not necessarily representative of the London that we serve, but we are getting there.”

Findings of the Casey report

A damning report into the Met’s culture by Baroness Casey was published in March 2023 which called the organisation “institutionally racist”.

Ch Insp Doamekpor said that he identified with some of the points raised in the report, but some of the others “not so much”.

He claimed that there has been a big change in the culture within the force in recent years wherein racism “is absolutely not tolerated”.

He added: “When I joined the job, we didn’t have things like Stride, which is a central repository where they look at inclusivity for black, minority, females or underrepresented officers and staff.

“So that is an outlet if there are any issues. We've got welfare hubs now and most of our senior officers are very alive to the language and feeling and the sentiment of the Casey reports.

“We've got a very good borough commander in the east, Stuart Bell, and he will not stand for any sort of discrimination regardless of colour, race or creed. I always take solace that if I have a problem, I go to Mr Bell.

Ch Insp Doamekpor said the job gives him "a sense of purpose, a sense of belonging".

"If you want to become a police officer, to me it is one of the best jobs that you can do."