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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 October, 2003, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK
Black officers back BBC reporter
The undercover BBC reporter who allegedly discovered widespread racism within a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) training school should not be prosecuted, according to a spokesman for the force's black officers.

Superintendent Martin Harding
Supt Martin Harding said racism was a national problem for the police

Superintendent Martin Harding, of the GMP Black and Asian Police Association (BAPA), said they were calling for all charges against Mark Daly, who posed as a police recruit, to be dropped.

Home Secretary David Blunkett has questioned the BBC's "intent to create, not report" the story.

But Supt Harding told BBC News Online the results of Daly's investigations justified his methods.

"In a sense my members are relieved and grateful to the BBC because this has proved beyond doubt what we have been saying for a number of years."

Daly spent five-and-a-half months with GMP and could face charges of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception and damaging police property.

The allegations made in the programme, which will be broadcast on BBC One on Tuesday, have led to four officers being suspended, three from GMP and one from North Wales Police.

Ku Klux Klan

Mr Harding said he had been "amazed and astounded" by the programme's revelations about the Bruche National Training Centre in Warrington, Cheshire, which was where he himself had undergone training.

Mark Daly, who posed as a police recruit for the programme
Reporter Mark Daly spent more than five months in the force
Footage for the programme includes one officer dressing up in an improvised Ku Klux Klan hood.

But Supt Harding said the revelations at the Warrington centre should be seen as a national problem because Daly had applied to police forces at random.

"We need to sit round a table with the Police Federation, the Black Police Association and senior officers and discuss the revelations from a Manchester angle and what to do about it.

"But it's not just a Manchester issue, such meetings should take place around the country," Supt Harding said.

The GMP BAPA represents approximately a third of the estimated 250 ethnic minority officers employed by the Greater Manchester force.

Supt Harding said whatever the fallout from the programme the central issue should be the treatment of the lone ethnic minority officer on the training course attended by the BBC reporter.

"I believe there was a failure of the training centre to protect this officer and that is something which needs to be examined.

"There are other black people going through training schools who need to be reassured."

Officers suspended over race claims
20 Oct 03  |  Manchester
Asian officers criticise force
10 Jul 03  |  Manchester

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