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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 November, 2003, 15:14 GMT
Detective suspended over 'racist' comment
Mark Daly, the BBC reporter who posed as a police officer
Mark Daly's documentary exposed racism among police trainees
A Sussex Police officer has been suspended for making an alleged racist comment.

The detective was reportedly suspended after comments to a colleague suggesting her ethnicity had helped her gain promotion.

Officers in the force are being asked to sign a declaration that they believe in values such as "fairness" and "justice".

While the move has been welcomed, fears have been voiced that the move may not bring "true commitment".

The county's chief constable Ken Jones has asked for all officers to watch the BBC television programme The Secret Policeman, which exposed racism among police trainees elsewhere in the country.

Sussex Police have been affected by two high-profile race issues in recent years.

You need to get them to sign not just on paper but personally - it has to come from the heart, from inside
Ray Powell, president, National Black Police Association
Their handling of the murder of black accountant Jay Abatan, who was killed in Brighton in 1999, was criticised in an independent investigation carried out by Essex Police.

A second review of the case has been carried out by Avon and Somerset Police, following almost 80 complaints from the Abatan family and is due to be passed to the Police Complaints Authority.

And a Sussex officer who posted offensive comments about a senior black officer on an internal message board was disciplined by the force.

Ray Powell, the president of the National Black Police Association said the move to ask officers to sign a declaration was welcome but needed to have substance behind it.

Murdered Sussex accountant Jay Abatan
Sussex Police have been criticised over the Jay Abatan case

He said: "A word of caution should be addressed - by telling somebody that you will sign a declaration are you really getting true commitment from that individual?

"I suggest not, I think it needs a little bit more than that.

"You need to get them to sign not just on paper but personally - it has to come from the heart, from inside."

Sussex Police's Deputy Chief Constable Joe Edwards admitted the force's moves could be seen as symbolic but said they were still valid.

He said: "It's symbolic but symbols are important in the police service.

"It's what's behind the words that counts and the opportunity to see the video and analyse action, because that's what's going to come out of our approach.

"We're going to commit to management action - this is a leadership, not a training, issue."




SEE ALSO:
Force 'to root out racism'
30 Oct 03  |  England
Surrey Police sack racist officer
27 Oct 03  |  Southern Counties
My life as a secret policeman
21 Oct 03  |  Magazine
Report on Abatan police due
07 Oct 03  |  Southern Counties


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