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Last Updated: Friday, 15 April, 2005, 15:48 GMT 16:48 UK
Met denies waste over race term
Metropolitan Police recruits
The Met says no money will be wasted in the switch
The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) denied it was "wasting time and money" telling Scotland Yard how to officially describe black and Asian people.

Met officers have been told not to use three terms - "ethnic minority", "black and ethnic minority" and "visible ethnic minority".

The term "black and minority ethnic communities/people" should be used.

The Black Police Association (BPA) had earlier called the switch a "waste of time and money", which the MPA denied.

'Simple move'

Scotland Yard and the MPA have both said the change - which will be used to refer to staff as well as members of the community - will not cost any money.

An MPA spokesman said: "We will not be spending money on changing databases or training regimes; this is a simple move to a more sensitive use of language which will not cost the public purse a single penny."

The BPA's president Ray Powell had earlier said: "I feel that this debate is superficial when compared with what is really going on in our communities in respect of racial discrimination.

All the good work that police officers and the Met are doing in the communities is brought into disrepute by people who sit around desks trying to make silly decisions
MPA member Richard Barnes

"They are wasting time and money debating how to refer to people in black and minority ethnic communities when that time would be better invested in actually helping those communities fight discrimination, unfairness and inequality."

The switch had also been criticised by MPA member and London Assembly Conservative Richard Barnes, who had called it "political correctness".

"All the good work that police officers and the Met are doing in the communities is brought into disrepute by people who sit around desks trying to make silly decisions."

Scotland Yard said the phrase would only be used for statistical purposes and would not be used to refer to staff generally.


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