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The Pioneers, Scotland Yard’s high-ranking police officer Neil Basu in fireside chat with Barnie Choudhury Event

Mr. Neil Basu QPM
23 April 2021
Presented via Zoom

Event details

The Pioneers - “Born to protect and serve” - Join Mr. Neil Basu QPM, Scotland Yard’s high-ranking police officer of South Asian origin, in conversation with Barnie Choudhury.

Friday 23 April 2021, 1 pm (GMT) via Zoom 

As we approach the 20th anniversary of the original war on terror, University of Southampton India Centre and Asian Media Group are proud to speak to a man whose job it is to keep us safe.

Assistant Commissioner for Special Operations, Neil Basu from the Metropolitan Police Service is the national lead for counter-terrorism policing in the UK.

“I might think of the pressure every day, but the thing that motivates me is to think about making this counter terrorism machine I work within the very best it can be to stop these things happening, and we’ve stopped 27, and I’m proud of that,” he told Eastern Eye’s editor-at-large, Barnie Choudhury in an interview last year. 

Neil has led many high-profile terror cases, including the attack outside parliament and the Manchester Arena bombing, both of which happened in 2017. 

It is not just Islamist threats he deals with.

“In parts of the country where we see disenfranchised white working class, high unemployment, people who have lost a lot of their worth and sense of identity, you see a rising move towards wanting to mobilise against what they see Islamification of the UK,” he said. 

Speaking to MPs on the home affairs select committee, Neil said, “I’ve spent 51 years dealing with racism and the vast amount of racism I’ve had in my life has been the perception that I might be Muslim – and I’m not.” 

Since joining the Metropolitan Police Services in 1992, Neil had an inspiring professional career holding positions as detective superintendent in territorial policing tackling drugs and firearms crime.

He was staff officer to commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, later becoming a borough commander in Barnet, north London, and commander of south London in 2012.

In 2014, he had his major career appointment as the commander overseeing organised crime and gangs.

In 2016, Neil received the Queen’s Police Medal (QPM) for distinguished services and prior to this, he received commendations on numerous occasions for bravery, leadership and detective abilities.

In 2018, Neil led one of Britain’s high-profile and challenging counter-terrorism investigations of Kremlin instigated Salisbury nerve agent poisoning of former Russian military officer and double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal.

Since 2018, Neil has been assistant commissioner responsible for specialist operations. He leads the operational and policy strategies for a range of areas including terrorism and espionage, investigation of war crime, Official Secrets Act offences and ensuring security protocols for VIPs, royals, embassies and parliament.

Born to an Indian father from Kolkata, who served as a surgeon with the UK police, and a white British mother, who was a nurse from Wales, Neil grew up in Stafford where he completed his schooling at Walton High School. He later obtained a BA (Hons) degree in economics from Nottingham University.

In our continuing series of south Asian pioneers, find out why Neil thinks his role is one of the most important jobs in our nation, how he champions diversity and what policing in 2020s Britain is really like.

This fireside chat is the third in the series of The Ramniklal Pioneers Project, launched in January 2021, which focuses on researching the untold inspirational biographies of south Asian diaspora in Britain. Previous Fireside Chats hosted British Asian comedian, actress and writer Meera Syal and Dr Chaand Nagpaul, Chair of Council of British Medical Association. 

The Ramniklal Pioneers project aims to understand the associated wider sociocultural, intellectual and economic impact that south Asians have had on British society over the last 100 years.

This interdisciplinary research project will create a digital platform where the data will be stored, curated and shared, with the aim that this platform can be augmented and become a ‘living legacy’ which truly captures the spirit of the United Kingdom.


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