[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 15 July, 2005, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Police racism review sets targets
Asian police officer
Forces still have very low numbers of black and ethnic minority officers
A review into racism in Scotland's police forces has issued 63 recommendations on how to improve race relations.

It said many of the current policies were to be commended but that did not mean they were working on the ground.

Very low numbers of black and ethnic minority officers was also a major problem forces must overcome, according to the Commission for Racial Equality.

The report followed a BBC documentary which revealed force racism in England.

The Secret Policeman exposed discrimination among police recruits at Greater Manchester Police.

There needs to be a lot of outreach, there needs to be a lot of positive action with communities
Ali Jarvis
Commission for Racial Equality

The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) said that Scotland's forces were ahead of counterparts in England in dealing with race relations.

However, major problems were still found to remain in recruiting and retaining officers from black and ethnic minority communities.

Figures from the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos) suggest that black and ethnic minority officers account for about 1% of officers in Scotland - while about 2% of the country's population come from ethnic minorities.

Interim director of the commission in Scotland Ali Jarvis told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland: "We've got two elements stopping people joining.

Community policing

"One is the perception still that the police are a racist organisation and the other is the fact that many ethnic minority communities do not see it as a viable or professional career choice."

Ms Jarvis said community policing was crucial for updating attitudes towards the job.

She added: "This is about changing long held attitudes, so the work needs to go on. There needs to be a lot of outreach, there needs to be a lot of positive action with communities to establish that trust.

As the review makes clear there's still some way to go before policies and strategies deliver race equality on the ground
Trevor Phillips
CRE chairman

"We also need to ensure that officers and support staff who are in the service are properly supported and properly guided such that they don't experience any disadvantage."

The report, published on Friday, said senior management were trying to stamp out racism but that policies were not always carried out in practice.

It added that forces needed to look at whether the training given to officers actually made a difference to the way they dealt with people on the ground.

Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the CRE, said: "Scotland's police forces should be commended for the progress they are making on race equality.

Our police forces are meeting their legal obligations towards race relations and have a clear commitment towards maximising public confidence and enhancing community relations
Cathy Jamieson
Justice Minister

"However, now is not the time to lapse into complacency.

"As the review makes clear there's still some way to go before policies and strategies deliver race equality on the ground."

Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson welcomed the report and its findings.

She said: "It shows that our police forces are meeting their legal obligations towards race relations and have a clear commitment towards maximising public confidence and enhancing community relations."

Ms Jamieson added: "Clearly, however, the report also shows that further progress is required in some areas such as recruitment from ethnic minority communities and inconsistencies between forces, for example in relation to training.

Racism in schools

"I will be encouraging the police service to use this research to further improve its practices for tackling discrimination and promoting good race relations in Scotland, and to help inform any training and organisational change."

She said that the executive was working to tackle racism in schools, an issue which was raised in the report.

The Scottish Police Service is working hard but accepts that we can do better
Chief Constable Paddy Tomkins

Chief Constable Paddy Tomkins, of Lothian and Borders Police, speaks on race issues for Acpos.

He said the overwhelming majority of the report's recommendations had been met or were in the process of being met across Scotland.

"The Scottish Police Service is working hard but accepts that we can do better.

"We see the CRE as critical friends in helping us develop the very best police service for all communities in Scotland," he added.


SEE ALSO:
Police to put racists to the test
14 May 05 |  Scotland
Police issued with race guidelines
26 Feb 02 |  Scotland
Police inquiry into racism reviewed
11 Dec 03 |  Manchester
My life as a secret policeman
21 Oct 03 |  Magazine


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific