By: Pramod Thomas
BRITAIN’s most senior ethnic minority police officer has said that two-thirds of chief constables are ‘terrified’ to acknowledge institutional racism in the force, according to a report.
Neil Basu, former head of counter-terrorism, has urged authorities to introduce ‘positive discrimination’ in recruiting ethnic minorities to help combat the menace, the Telegraph reported.
Basu, who led the police service’s strategic command training course for senior officers, revealed that one chief constable had been told by his boss that he would be sacked if they called their force institutionally racist.
According to him, positive discrimination is the only way to improve the representation of ethnic minorities within the force and to help counter racism though he did not personally support discrimination.
“If you attract more people to join, you get more applicants. They are massively outweighed by the number of white middle-class undergraduate applicants,” he told Danny Shaw, the interviewer for Crest,” Basu said an interview with the crime consultancy Crest Advisory.
“If you do it on an equal waiting basis, they’re always going to crowd out black and brown voices unless you actually do something to increase the possibility of getting through. That is not about lowering standards, that’s about recognising if you’ve got a problem in that area.”
Currently, around eight per cent of the police workforce is from an ethnic minority, compared with 18 per cent of the population who belong to a black, Asian, mixed race or other ethnic groups.
Basu, whose father was Indian and mother Welsh, has said that the government should set a policy to have a representative police service.
“I don’t agree with positive discrimination. I didn’t want it 30 years ago [when he joined the police], I wanted people to think I was a great cop. I didn’t want anyone to give me a leg up for any reason other than I was a great cop,” Basu was quoted as saying by the Telegraph.
“And everybody I know with a protected characteristic, whether they’re female, gay, black, brown also feel exactly the same way. We do not want positive discrimination. My point to the Government in setting policy is you will never without it.”
He added: “At least a third of chief constables probably don’t think we are institutionally anything. They don’t see the problem at all. Probably another third are terrified of reducing morale by our frontline.”
He further said that the final third were assisting on the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s anti-race action plan but ‘a third were terrified and a third don’t care’.
Basu even revealed that he left the force as he was sure that this generation of chief constables would do nothing about institutional racism.
Meanwhile, chief constable Gavin Stephens, senior responsible officer for the Police Race Action Plan, admitted that the force it still contains racism, discrimination and bias.
“The Police Race Action Plan, at its core, is about good policing and reflecting and protecting all communities. We have worked hard to ensure we’re listening to those with lived experience inside and outside policing and we are making progress against the plan,” Stephens was quoted as saying by the Telegraph.
“The Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Board has played a critical role in helping us to shape the Plan and we will continue to work to improve how we listen, understand, and address the concerns of Black people, both within and the community.”