Ethnic police officers still disadvantaged, says new UK equality reportJanuary 12th, 2009 - 1:53 pm ICT by IANS
London, Jan 12 (IANS) Asian and black officers in British police forces continue to feel disadvantaged by “old-fashioned working practices”, according to the latest report by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.The just-released report says ethnic officers feel entry into top squads of the force - robbery, anti-terrorist and firearms units — are “closed shops” for them. It also finds that more ethnic officers than their white counterparts quit the force or are sacked from service.
The report is titled “Police and Racism: What Has Been Achieved 10 Years After the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry?”. The decade-old Lawrence inquiry had charged the force with racial bias.
John Wadham, from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, told The Guardian: “When Stephen Lawrence was murdered by a racist gang of young white men the police behaved as if he was the criminal rather than the victim. Ten years on from the inquiry into the handling of his death, we welcome the significant improvements the police have made in the way they deal with race …
“However, there are still worrying areas which the police need to address - such as changing the canteen culture and properly monitoring stop and search and the DNA database - if they are to continue to make improvements.”
The report finds a large number of black and Asian people being stopped and searched in most areas and a high proportion of black men recorded on the DNA database. In relation to the DNA database, the commission estimated that 30 percent of all black men’s DNA was held on the database, compared with 10 percent of white men, which risked creating an impression that a single racial group was more predisposed to criminality.
A second report, titled “Duty Calls” by the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, has also been simultaneously released. This report says that though more ethnic officers were being inducted into the force at present, there were shortcomings in their promotions.
The report cites the example of a black officer recalling applying for a job as a race and diversity trainer with one of Britain’s largest police forces. He told the commission that the head of equality and diversity training had said of his appointment: “That’s good, I got my black one.” Later, when learning the black officer was gay, the same man said: “You haven’t got a wooden leg, have you? Then you’d have the full set.”