In an interview with “The Guardian” newspaper, the head of the British Council of Police Commissioners believes that the police are “institutionally racist”. He becomes the most senior police officer in the UK to make such a criticism.
Heavy allegation. Gavin Stephens, chairman of the Representative Council of British Police Commissioners, said Britain's police force was “institutionally racist” (NPCC), in an interview published in this Saturday's newspaper Guardian. He is the top officer of the police force who is creating self-criticism in this way, as the debate over police racism has been going on in the country for decades.
“It doesn't mean all police officers are racist,” though he qualifies.
Gavin Stephens felt it was imperative that black people not fall prey to excessive uses of power. He also felt that the efforts made in the police to fight this discrimination were not enough, especially the reforms that followed the protest movement related to the killing of a black man named George Floyd by a white police officer in the United States in May 2020.
The “Myth” of “Dangerous Young Black Men”
“Black people are seven times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched, and five times more likely to be subjected to the use of force. Taser-related incidents involving black people,” Gavin Stephens, specifically listed for practicing this discrimination, “recent estimates say only 3.5% of the population.” [britannique] It is black.
He explained that black people are overrepresented among those targeted by police operations, “a myth that sometimes exists in popular culture that black youth are dangerous. It's a myth.”
“Yes, young black men are involved in crime.
Divisions within the higher police force
According to the Guardian, the British police force has been roiled by controversy over racism in their organization for nearly thirty years. Some regional (eg Police Scotland) and divisional (London Transport Police) police chiefs have recognized this problem, but not the most senior ones.
Despite the release of a scathing report in 2021 detailing institutional racism, misogyny and homophobia, London's police chief, the country's highest-ranking police officer, has refused to accept the first two qualifications to describe the law enforcement agencies he is responsible for. The chiefs of Manchester and Birmingham, the two other largest police forces in the UK after London, have taken a similar stance.
NPCC members themselves voted against the resolution recognizing institutional discrimination within their ranks, so Gavin Stephens' comments are personal opinion.
The debate is also ongoing in France, where the national police face accusations of institutional racism from national organizations and associations. “It is wrong to say there is systematic racism in the national police,” Interior Minister Gérard Dormanin, the head of French law enforcement, said in July.
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