Police chiefs have criticised a leading race campaigner for comments they say stereotype officers as racist.
Mr Phillips said his comments had been misunderstood
One police body called for the chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality to resign and another asked for his remarks in the Times to be "clarified".
CRE head Trevor Phillips said some people might think racism a "disease of...football hooligans, British National Party supporters, policemen".
He has said he was criticising those who wrongly brand policemen racist.
In the article, Mr Phillips said: "Most liberal-minded folk would like to think that since they are not hostile to people of a different race, racism is a disease of the uneducated, unenlightened and socially backward - football hooligans, British National Party supporters, policemen."
The Police Superintendents' Association (PSA) and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) have said the comments were particularly inappropriate because the CRE is investigating racism in the police service.
PSA President Rick Naylor said: "To stereotype police officers in this way reveals what Mr Phillips expects his investigation to conclude.
"We have no confidence in Mr Phillips remaining as chairman of the CRE.
"We call on him to stand down."
ACPO President Chris Fox has written to Mr Phillips to ask for "clarification" of his remarks.
He added that, in light of the CRE investigation, " it would be extremely
concerning to learn that these views are Mr Phillips' own".
But the CRE said the row was "absurd".
"Trevor Phillips was criticising people who think that racism only occurs as
a result of the BNP, football hooligans and policemen," said a spokeswoman.
"And he was criticising those who lump all policemen in the category of
'uneducated, unenlightened and socially backward'."
Mr Phillips later said he was "surprised and disappointed" by the reaction, saying the point of the article was to show everyone shared responsibility for defeating racism.
He added: "I'm sorry if they misread my intentions which were to criticise some rather snobbish folk who wrongly brand all police officers as racist."