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Monday, 27 May, 2002, 07:50 GMT 08:50 UK
Race poll reaction
BBC News Online asked the Home Office, the Police Federation, the Metropolitan Police and the Commission for Racial Equality to comment on the findings of our ICM poll on race relations.
These are their responses.
Home Office statement
The Home Office citizenship survey interviewed 10,015 people nationally and was supplemented with a boost sample of 5,460 people from minority ethnic backgrounds.
The results of the survey will be published shortly, and will inform Home Office policy development and provide a baseline with which to measure the effectiveness of our efforts to promote race equality.
Recent changes to the Race Relations Act 1976 were introduced by the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, the first significant piece of race legislation in a generation and a direct response to the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report.
The amendments widened and strengthened the anti-discrimination provisions within the act.
The act also introduced a new and enforceable duty on 40,000 public bodies to promote race equality and good race relations, that is to take action to prevent acts of unlawful race discrimination.
In 1999, in response to a recommendation in the Macpherson report, the Home Secretary set targets for recruitment, retention and progression of minority ethnic staff and officers in all Home Office agencies and service areas, including the police and prison services.
The targets, due to be met by 2009, require the Home Office and its services to achieve proportional representation of minority ethnic staff in all grades and equal rates of staff turnover.
We are still concerned that one in three people believe that police officers discriminate on grounds of race.
We have taken positive steps to implement the recommendations of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, and 80% of the recommendations are now in place.
We believe that bringing the police under the jurisdiction of the new Race Relations (Amendment) Act, combined with the other recommendations, is having an impact on the actions of the police, and leading to changes in how they are viewed.
In particular the delivery of community and race relations training (CRR) has been extensive.
The aim is that all-senior manager and frontline staff will have received training by the end of 2002.
The training will increase knowledge, and improve the awareness and sensitivities of officers, promote best practice in policies and procedures, and improve performance in this area.
Gurbux Singh, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality
"These results show that although some progress is being made to root out discriminatory practices and offer equal opportunity to all, there is still a long way to go to improve both perception and reality.
"Following the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, when the police were accused of institutional racism, the force came under increased scrutiny regarding racial equality.
"They have since worked hard to improve their service to ethnic minority communities. It is therefore encouraging to see that the ICM poll found that more than 70% of blacks and Asians feel that the police do either a very good or a quite a good job.
"Hopefully this increased confidence will translate into a sustained rise in the number of police recruits from ethnic minority backgrounds.
"However, the survey also shows that public confidence in the police is still disturbingly low with 37% believing that police officers discriminate on the grounds of race.
"Whether or not this is based on old evidence, it is clear that the police still have much work to do before they gain the trust and confidence of all sections of the community.
"It is vital that police officers treat every one with professionalism and courtesy, regardless of the colour of their skin. Anything less is unacceptable.
"The same goes for the judicial system. Both the police service and the courts now have a duty to promote racial equality under the amended Race Relations Act.
"For the first time, they not only have to eliminate unlawful discrimination within their ranks, but actively promote equal opportunity and good race relations as well.
"This marks a major watershed for race relations which will no doubt improve the lives and life chances of millions.
"When you consider that there are only 12 out of 659 black or Asian MPs sitting in the House of Commons, the prospect of a Tory or Labour party leader from an ethnic minority background seems a long way off.
"The three main political parties have all publicly stated their desire to attract more ethnic minority candidates.
"They have set themselves a large, but not impossible, challenge. Only time will tell if the political parties' rhetoric becomes reality.
Fred Broughton, Chairman of the Police Federation
"Following the Macpherson Report, the police service has made strenuous efforts to improve race and community relations by improving individual conduct through training and working in partnership with minority ethnic communities.
Commander Cressida Dick, head of Metropolitan Police Diversity Directorate
"We welcome all research which helps us to evaluate the progress of our Diversity Strategy, which includes measures to redress both the perceptions and possibilities of discrimination.
"Constant feedback and assistance from the Met's Independent Advisory Group and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender) Advisory Group means that all areas of the organisations' work are continually assessed by representatives of minority communities.
"We have come a long way and continue to strive to improve our service to all of London's diverse communities.
"We hope similar research will continue to support our work in this area.
26 May 02 | UK
27 May 02 | UK Politics
27 May 02 | UK
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