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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 September, 2003, 19:05 GMT 20:05 UK
First black chief constable welcomed
Michael Fuller, Kent Police chief constable
Michael Fuller has held key posts in London
The appointment of the UK's first black chief constable has been welcomed by fellow officers.

Michael Fuller, currently a deputy assistant commissioner in the Metropolitan Police, plans to replicate his work on drug-related crime in London when he takes up the job as head of the Kent force.

The decision to promote the 44-year-old was welcomed by the Black Police Association (BPA) and the acting chief constable he will replace in January.

But the association's chairman warned it would not mark the end of the fight for acceptance of ethnic minority officers in senior positions in the police.

Mr Fuller, a father-of-two, became the first black member of the Association of Chief Police Officers four years ago and won plaudits for work on the Met's drug policy.

He said: "I am delighted with my appointment, and I am looking forward to the challenge of being the chief constable of Kent.

You have to understand the ferocity that the organisation can throw at you
Chief Inspector Leroy Logan
BPA
"I am grateful for the innovative work of my predecessors and I welcome the opportunity to work with the men and women of Kent Police, which is one of the most effective and proficient forces in the country."

Chief Inspector Leroy Logan, chairman of the BPA, said the appointment was good news but did not mean problems for ethnic minority police officers had gone away.

He said: "It's important that we take one step at a time and we keep the pressure on the organisation and the police authorities and say there are black police officers just as capable as their white counterparts to lead a force area or even the Met.

"I would like to think in my lifetime, there would be a black police officer willing and able to take on that role."

He said that people from ethnic minorities should respond to appeals to join the police, but added: "You have to understand the ferocity that the organisation can throw at you, especially if you are willing to stand up against the chill factor in the organisation and against other people being devalued and dehumanised."

'Exceptional officer'

BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw says Mr Fuller's appointment will go some way to allaying concerns which have resurfaced in the last two weeks about the treatment and promotion of black officers in Kent.

The Kent Police Authority insisted its decision was nothing to do with ethnicity.

Acting Chief Constable of Kent, Bob Ayling, agreed.

"That is not at all why he was appointed. He is an exceptional officer. We are interested in delivering an exceptional police service to the people of Kent and Mike Fuller will share that agenda."

He joined the Metropolitan Police as a cadet in 1975, going on to serve in Special Branch, CID and to set up the Racial and Violent Crimes Task Force in 1998.

He has also headed Operation Trident, which targets gun-related crime within the black community and is currently the director of intelligence at Scotland Yard.

His salary will be 120,000 a year, starting in January 2004.




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