by Neil Basu
Last year, Neil Basu was the highest-ranking officer of colour in the UK, one of only four ethnic minorities to reach the rank since 1829. He was the Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations (ACSO) – dubbed the ‘super-woke so-called head of counter terrorism’ by Charles Moore in the Spectator. This global role would represent the apex of a career spanning 30 years policing London in the UK’s largest and most controversial force, the Metropolitan Police Service, from 1992 to 2022.
Turmoil is the story of how a painfully shy, half Indian boy; raised in a very white English Midlands town, overcame crippling shyness, bullying and the overt racism of British society. How he rose to the top in a profession you might think did not want people who look like him. The spectre of racism would weave its way through his life, career, and profession during one of the most controversial periods of policing history.
Basu joined the Metropolitan Police in 1992 and graduated the same week that Stephen Lawrence was murdered – years later he would join the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Team. He maintains that the Macpherson Inquiry publication, which found that the Met was institutionally racist, was the first occasion he would feel shame to call himself a police officer. Later, the Baroness Casey report would leave him wondering whether he had wasted his life. Whether he had made any difference at all.
Quarto will publish Turmoil in February 2025.