Selma Taha was subject to an alleged racist attack, including making monkey sounds. Southhall Black Sisters

The Metropolitan Police has referred itself to the police watchdog following shocking claims made by black charity boss Selma Taha.

Taha alleges that an off-duty police officer witnessed and did nothing to intervene as she was viciously bitten and kicked in a racist attack on the London Underground.

The incident, which occurred on a crowded Tube train, has sparked outrage and raised concerns about the safety and protection provided by law enforcement. Taha, who is the CEO of a prominent black charity, described the attack as a terrifying and traumatising experience.

According to Taha, the attack took place when she boarded the train during rush hour. She was immediately subjected to racially abusive slurs by a group of individuals who targeted her because of her ethnicity.

Things quickly escalated when one of the assailants sank his teeth deep into her arm, leaving a lasting mark of the horrific incident. Others in the group proceeded to kick and physically assault her.

She said: "Almost worse than the shock of the racist attack was the indifference of the police officer especially now when the Met police have been rocked by evidence of historical, institutionalised racism and misogyny suffered by Black and minoritised communities and finally backed up by the Casey report."

Leaders from various charities and activist groups have condemned the incident and demanded action be taken against both the attackers and the off-duty officer who allegedly turned a blind eye.

The Metropolitan Police has acknowledged the seriousness of the accusations and subsequently referred the matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), the designated watchdog for police misconduct. The IOPC will now launch an independent investigation into the incident to determine the facts surrounding the officer's alleged inaction.

The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, expressed her deep concern over the incident and emphasised the importance of maintaining public trust in the police force. Dick assured the public that any wrongdoing would be dealt with severely, stating that such behaviour is not reflective of the values and principles of the Metropolitan Police.

The alleged assailant has been arrested on suspicion of assault and a racially aggravated public order offence and has been released on bail. The Metropolitan police said they were aware of the alleged assault where an off-duty Met officer was present.

"A complaint has been received to the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards and we have made a referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct," a spokesperson said. "The officer involved is being provided with welfare support during this process," they added.

Ms Taha was appointed director of Southall Black Sisters in May last year. The Southall Black Sisters is a charity that provides support and advice to black women and girls who have been victims of violence.

It was founded in 1979 by a group of black women who had been victims of violence themselves. It has a long-standing record of empowering those who face discrimination and providing them with the necessary tools to challenge injustice. The attack on their director serves as a stark reminder of the dangers faced by those who dare to challenge societal norms.

The charity provides a range of services, including counselling, legal advice and advocacy. It also campaigns for changes to the law and policy to better protect black women and girls from violence.