Forced Out | Granta

  • Published: 07/05/2020
  • ISBN: 9781846276804
  • Granta Books
  • 352 pages

Forced Out

Kevin Maxwell

Kevin Maxwell was a dream candidate for the police force – he had a long-held desire to serve his community, a strong moral compass and a clear aptitude for both the strategic and practical aspects of policing. And, as a gay black man from a working class family, he could easily have been a poster boy for the force’s stated commitment to equal opportunities. Joining just after the 9/11 attacks, Kevin entered policing determined to keep communities safe in the face of a changing world. But instead he came up against entrenched prejudice, open racism and homophobia. For more than ten years, Kevin strove against the odds, until he took the force to an employment tribunal – with devastating results.

Forced Out is a revelatory exposé combining deeply affecting memoir with sharp analysis and a fascinating insider perspective on day-to-day life in the force. It is a touchstone for the silent many who have either tried to ignore abuse for the sake of their career or who have been bullied out of their jobs. It paints a sobering portrait of an institution that has not yet learned the lessons of the past and whose prejudice is informing the cases it chooses to investigate and the way it investigates them. And it asks the important question: what needs to change?


One of the most compulsive books I've read in a long while. Maxwell's experiences as a black gay policeman demonstrate how far we have to go as a country when the institution created to protect us persecutes us instead. I was shocked and saddened at the systemic discrimination and corruption directed at him by his colleagues and superiors, and how they closed ranks to cover their tracks

Bernardine Evaristo, author of Booker prizewinning Girl, Woman, Other

Forced Out is a searing dissection of institutional racism and personal tragedy with two major UK police forces with tendrils extending into the dark world of compromat and media manipulation. Painstakingly researched and beautifully written, this is a burning, righteous book

A. L. Kennedy

Brave and essential, Forced Out is a shocking exposé of racism and homophobia in today's police. This courageous book pushes us to demand equality, fairness and accountability

Peter Tatchell

The Author

Kevin Maxwell served as a detective in both the Greater Manchester and London’s Metropolitan Police forces. He now writes and advocates for social justice and equality. He has written for newspapers and magazines including the Independent and the Guardian, and has appeared on television and radio for the BBC and Sky News. Kevin was awarded an MBE For services to Diversity through Literature in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2021.

More about the author →

Kevin Maxwell on

Essays & Memoir | Granta Books

Forced Out

Kevin Maxwell

An excerpt from Kevin Maxwell’s exposé of structural racism in the British police force.