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Friday, October 16, 1998 Published at 06:30 GMT 07:30 UK


Police forces confess to racism

Racism in the ranks

Two more UK police forces have said they are institutionally racist, and a further ten say they have racist officers.

The Chief Constables of Sussex and West Yorkshire Police Forces, make their admissions in The Independent newspaper.

[ image: John Newing: Evidence of overly racist officers]
John Newing: Evidence of overly racist officers
The confessions came in response to a survey carried out by the newspaper following the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester's acceptance that institutional racism existed in his force.

Chief Constable David Wilmot told the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry he acknowledged there were problems, and that his force was attempting to solve them.

His comments came after Metropolitan Police Chief Constable Sir Paul Condon refused to accept that racism was institutional in his force.

He admitted at the Lawrence inquiry - set up to look into the police investigation that followed the teenager's unsolved murder by white youths five years ago - that there were bigoted individuals in his ranks.

'They are going to move forward'

But he said that did not mean racism was institutionalised.

Many of the 10 forces who owned up to racism said it was unavoidable when they were recruiting from a prejudiced society.

Imran Khan, solicitor for the Lawrence family, told the newspaper: "I am disappointed that it's only two but I welcome their comments.

[ image: Paul Condon: Denied racism was institutional]
Paul Condon: Denied racism was institutional
"They have acknowledged their problems and they are going to move forward.

"If they and the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester can accept it, I cannot see how Sir Paul Condon can defend his position."

Chief Constable of Sussex Police, Paul Whitehouse, is reported as saying: "Yes, there is institutional racism within Sussex Police but that does not mean that Sussex Police is an inherently racist service."

Lloyd Clarke, Deputy Chief Constable of West Yorkshire said: "If 'institutional racism' means prejudice, that such prejudice is subconscious, almost subliminal, than I totally accept the concept."

He said that did not mean that all officers in his force were racist.

One of the chief constables to recognise racism, although not institutional, in his force was head of Derbyshire Police, John Newing.

[ image: Stephen Lawrence was killed by a gang of white youths]
Stephen Lawrence was killed by a gang of white youths
He said: "Despite the fact that we have a race relations strategy in operation and have had for some years, I accept that the Derbyshire force, like other forces, has a problem of racism.

"There is sufficient evidence to support this in terms of stop/search rates and arrest rates.

"I also have evidence which indicates that there are officers who are overtly racist."

Other forces that admitted to having racist officers were: the City of London, Tayside, Cumbria, Merseyside, Humberside, Northumbria, Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire and Durham.

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