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Wednesday, 17 January, 2001, 13:45 GMT
CPS staff campaign for racial equality
CPS NBCPA logos
Allegations of racism have plagued the CPS
The formation of a support network for ethnic minority staff in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has been welcomed by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

David Calvert-Smith said he hoped the National Black Crown Prosecution Association (NBCPA) would help to tackle long-standing problems within the CPS.

The director said: "The organisation as a whole has been shown over the years to have a problem of institutional racism and that is one which we are determined to tackle.

"It is essential that black staff within the service have a voice, a voice that is listened to and backed from the very top."
David Calvert-Smith
David Calvert-Smith backed the new association

Last year the Commission for Racial Equality conducted an investigation into allegations of a 'colour bar' among lawyers at one CPS office in south London.

And last February, one of the founding members of the NBCPA, Maria Bamieh, was awarded nearly 40,000 in damages by an employment tribunal which ruled the CPS had treated her unfairly following a complaint of racial discrimination.

More than 20 other similar cases by CPS staff have also been lodged against their employer.

'Level playing field'

Speaking at the NBCPA's inauguration, the organisation's chair, Reeva Bell said: "The main objective of this organisation is to work towards equality of opportunity and by that we mean establishing a level playing field for all staff to achieve their potential.
Reeva Bell
Reeva Bell wants harassment stamped out

"It is our intention to work with the CPS to create a safe working environment for all staff, free from bullying and harassment."

She added that the NBCPA intended to strengthen links with other similar organisations such as the Black Police Association.

The formation of the association was also welcomed by the Attorney General, Lord Williams of Mostyn.

He said: "None of us working in the criminal justice system have any right to be pleased or proud of what's happened so far.

"We can't justify silent collusion or willing conspiracy in everything that everyone knows has been wrong".

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10 Dec 99 | UK
Racism probe into CPS
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