No complacency on police racism

POLICE authority bosses would be foolish to assume racism has been stamped out of the Suffolk constabulary.That was the message from an anti-racism cop – days before an assessment by a top inspector and in the wake of a tv documentary which shook public confidence across the country.

POLICE authority bosses would be foolish to assume racism has been stamped out of the Suffolk constabulary.

That was the message from an anti-racism cop – days before an assessment by a top inspector and in the wake of a tv documentary which shook public confidence across the country.

The recent BBC programme 'Secret Policemen' exposed alleged racist officers at North Wales, Cheshire and Greater Manchester forces – but officers in Suffolk are feeling the backlash from the public.

Members of the Suffolk Police Authority heard how an assessment has been carried out by Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary for London and the Eastern region, Sir Ronnie Flanagan.

He is the former chief constable for both the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

Authority chairman Christine Laverock - who contacted chief constable Alastair McWhirter and chairman of the Black Police Association Lloyd Stewart for reassurance immediately after seeing the film - said: "I know we will all be very disturbed at the extreme racism shown by police in that documentary.

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"I wanted to reassure myself that we have all the checks in place when we recruit.

"Mr Stewart was very positive, but he also said it would be foolish for any one of us to assume there was no racism in the police in Suffolk.

"Although the programme was about officers in other parts of the country it will have an effect on the views of the public here, and officers have been getting some flack back, as a result of it."

Mrs Laverock insisted any racism would be tackled straight away – within the force and in society.

She said: "The message is that racism will not be tolerated in the police, and will be dealt with extremely seriously."

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