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Monday, July 5, 1999 Published at 08:18 GMT 09:18 UK

UK Politics

Race equality targets set

The immigration service could become a "beacon of good practice"

Targets for the recruitment of black and Asian staff are being set for the fire, immigration, probation and prison services.

The targets, which apply to the Home Office and all its related organisations, were introduced in response to the Macpherson report into the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

Stephen Lawrence case: Timeline of events
They are aimed at boosting the numbers of ethnic minorities employed in the public sector, by improving their recruitment, retention and career progression.

Similar targets were set for the police earlier this year. Each force was handed a quota to meet within 10 years, equal to or higher than the percentage of ethnic minorities in its local population.

Home Secretary Jack Straw announced the latest move at a joint Commission for Racial Equality and Fabian Society conference, entitled Eliminating Racism.

He said: "The Macpherson inquiry quite rightly ensured that the spotlight fell largely on the police.

[ image: Stephen Lawrence: Murder inquiry found
Stephen Lawrence: Murder inquiry found "institutional racism"
"But it is up to all public authorities to challenge racism, improve race equality records and ensure there is a fair representation of ethnic minorities within that organisation.

"I am determined to ensure the Home Office sets a positive example to others and becomes a beacon of good practice for other parts of the public sector," he said.

Black teenager Stephen Lawrence was killed by a gang of white youths while waiting for a bus in south London in 1993.

The Macpherson report into the subsequent bungled police inquiry accused police forces of "institutionalised racism" and made numerous recommendations for improving race relations in Britain.

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