Activists and senior police figures have slammed the long awaited Race and Faith inquiry report into the promotion of Black and ethnic minority police officers within the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).
The report intended to ‘carry out an inquiry into race and faith within the MPS in relation to employment and establish what is still required in order to achieve real cultural change and facilitate the development of a police service that promotes open dialogue on diversity issues’ has met with large scale rejection from Black communities.
After an18 month delay the report was finally been published this week on the anniversary of the 7/7 bombings.
Lee Jasper, former Director of Policing for London published a long rebuttal to the findings on his website. He says:
“The report fails to meet its core objectives, it has taken an inordinate amount of time and has cost a fortune to tell us not very much. It represents a whitewash and constitutes a subtly calculated ideological assault on the fundamental principles of race equality. No wonder it took so long to be published.”
The report ordered by Mayor Boris Johnson saw senior black figures such as Bob Purkiss resigning from the inquiry panel this year.
Purkiss a leading trade unionist and diversity consultant cited that he had identified institutional racism as the key problem preventing the progression of Black officers through the ranks but that there was serious intent to rewrite the report.
The Metropolitan Black Police Association also rejects the report’s main conclusion saying, ‘its most controversial finding is that the use of the term ‘institutional racism’ is the main barrier to tackling race issues in the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)’.
The report states,
“Now, however, as a consequence of rhetorical inflation, the term is used too glibly as a blanket indictment and as such has become a barrier to reform. Paradoxically the concept of institutional racism has become a millstone around the neck of the MPS, obscuring our understanding of the nature of any continuing endemic racism in that or any other large organisation.”
Lee Jasper says:
“The danger of this approach is obvious. When you fail to correctly identify the problem you will inevitably deploy the wrong solution. In looking for a rationale to explain differential outcomes you are forced to adopt a ‘blame the victim or the administrative process’ approach. This report reduces endemic racism as being nothing more than the inflated complaints of Deputy Commissioner Ghaffur or Sergeant Verdi and the ‘unintended’ consequences of misguided diversity policies. It’s an extension of blame the victim syndrome.”
If race is to be effectively dealt with as an issue then it is important that the focus on what demonstrably works does not become obscured. This report is a subtle attempt to acknowledge some areas of concerns but dismisses the central allegation.”
It clear from the inquiry panel report that having rejected the existence of institutional racism any specific targeted policy measures to tackle racism are considered problematic and largely identified as creating a culture, that, in the panels view, has produced an antagonistic and confused workforce on the issue of race. The retreat from having discriminatory specific policies spells the death knell of any serious attempt to achieve race equality in the MPS.”
The Metropolitan Black Police Association stated:
“We do not agree with the claim that the MPS are no longer institutionally racist. The fact that the lack of progression, disproportionate disciplines and resignations from the internal Black and minority workforce still afflicts the service after so many years, is an indication of how much the institutional nature of this problem continues to affect this and many other public bodies.
In our view the report indicates the lack of understanding of racism and institutional racism and we believe that it is inappropriate to remove the term without the support of the Black and minority staff and communities in which the term refers.”
Black MPA member and Panel Chair Cindy Butts, was invited to comment. Due to a close family bereavement today she will respond in an article next week.