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Blair: Racism is alive and kicking

Blair: Racism is alive & kicking

Sir Ian Blair, former Metropolitan Commissioner, has criticised the Government and Metropolitan Police Service for failure to tackle racism.

Writing in the New Statesman Sir Ian Blair highlights what he considers to be near silence by the coalition Government on issues of race equality and racial integration. He accuses the current Home Secretary and Trevor Phillips, head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, of being virtually silent on addressing the issue of the disproportionate impact of public sector cuts on vulnerable communities.

Blair’s comments echoes serious concerns expressed by a coalition of Black and women’s organisations that has warned the Government about its failure to complete Equality Impact Assessment on intended public sector cuts and their likely disproportionate impact on Black people and women.

In relation to the police service Blair rejects the claim made by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson that the Metropolitan Police Service is no longer institutionally racist. The discredited Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) Race and Faith Inquiry report published over a year late and in an attempt to bury bad news published cynically on the anniversary of the 7/7 London bombings has been mired in controversy. Sir Ian Blair states in his article that the acceptance by the MPA of Boris Johnson claim that “Met was no longer  institutionally racist” was wrong.

Sir Ian said:

“I believe that the MPA was wrong to do so. The Met is, without doubt, still affected by institutional racism, as are almost all British institutions, and will be for years to come. Despite all the agonies they have faced in progressing up the ranks, there are now a number of Black and Asian senior police officers in Britain. But there are not enough.”

These comments chime with those made by former Director for Policing and Equalities Lee Jasper who writing about the publication of the report at the time wrote on his website;

“However when one reads the report in forensic detail it is clear the panel does not reach any such specific conclusion [re: institutional racism].

“Boris quite brazenly states in his forward to the report  I welcome Cindy Butts finding that the Met is not institutionally racist”.

“The Inquiry Panel did accept that term ‘institutional racism’ was problematic but concluded that whilst the term was not helpful the reality was the Met was still an ‘institutionally racist’ organisation.”

That a figure such as Sir Ian Blair should point out the Government has effectively sidelined issues of race and that the MPS, despite the claims of Mayor Boris Johnson, is still institutionally racist will no doubt be rejected however there is growing momentum behind those who criticise Governments failure to seriously address issues of race and gender equality.

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8 Responses

  1. I wouldn’t say that the Met’ was institutionally racist.

    It might be ‘alarmingly’, ‘overly’ or ‘Made-up of racists’ but I do not believe there is a ‘racist’ Met’ Police practice that all members must follow.

    Please enlighten me if I might be wrong.

  2. Joshua, your big plan. There’s no time to waste. Enough of this pedantry and contrarian rhetoric, back to lab, quick, before we all miss out on our salvation.

  3. Of course the Met is still institutionally racist.

    There are less people of colour at senior levels in the MPS compared to 10 years ago – none in the management board.

    There are disproportionate internal disciplinary processes against people of colour.

    In Met history, no person of colour has ever been promoted through the ranks to director level within the civilian population despite a higher ratio of graduates in people of colour at the lower ranks.

    As a Black man, I am 7-8 times more likely to be stopped and searched bearing in mind that less than 1% of ALL stop and searches (regardless of colour) end up in convictions!

    As a Black man, I am 68% more likely to be on the DNA register compared to just 22% of the majority culture.

    These issues are facts – when knowing this, how can anyone dispute the presence (strong presence) of institutional racism? These stats live to prove the overwhelming presence of this culture and simply re-packaging it does not make the problem disappear. If we are to tame this monster, we must first except the gravity of the problem and its visible and genuine affect on our communities

  4. I agree with you Alfred. We cannot move forward until politicians acknowledge the problem and do so unequivocally.

    While Boris remains Mayor after his ousting of Ian Blair and with his seizure of power over the MPA, the Met will remain as it is. A shadow rather than a reflection of the diverse population it seeks to serve.

    With less police on the streets, stop and search continually disproportionally affecting BME communities the relationship between BME communities and the police will only worsen, and this is part of the problem.

  5. what reason does the Met have to be racist? what would motivate it to be so?

  6. Either to:

    “divide people based on similarities and differences”.
    and/or
    “easily exclude those that one would assume would not conform to the group”.

    Those are your words Joshua.

  7. Whilst we’re on topic of your words

    “Dr. Martin Luther King would have been personally ashamed of Operation Black vote and many other Black focused organisations as they fly in the face of everything that he tried to teach. They besmirch his name and memory”.

    Given OBVs work to improve integration (or to use modern parlance, representation) in parliament and many other spheres of power please explain how they fly in the face of this:

    “By token integration I mean a few negroes getting justice in a particular situation but the vast majority still confronting problems of economic insecurity and social isolation, so that while we have moved on we only have token integration and the problem now is to move from token integration to overall integration. Where it involves more than just a few students in the schools more than just a few lunch counters open, more than gaining justice in the courts in a few situations but in every situation”.

    That, by the way, was MLK.

    Definition of tokenism: The policy of making only a perfunctory effort or symbolic gesture toward the accomplishment of a goal, such as racial integration.

    OBV is – in the spirit of MLK – trying to move the spheres of power “from token integration to overall integration…[from a] few situations [to] every situation”.

    So, let’s be clear, MLK did not always “instill the idea that all human beings have the same needs and hurts”, he sometimes made it clear that these needs and hurts were different in certain contexts. Unless by the word “negroes” he meant “poor whites” as well.

  8. “Sir Ian Blair, former Metropolitan Commissioner, has criticised the Government and Metropolitan Police Service for failure to tackle racism.”

    I think it is very brave of Sir Ian to openly tackle this subject. Trevor Phillips should learn a thing or two from him. The Metropolitan Police are still institutionally, and extremely racist.

    “Yet there are many questions relating to race that urgently need to be addressed. How, for instance, can Labour Party members not be outraged about the lack of donations to Diane Abbott’s leadership campaign? Are the Muslim communities that were so alienated by the difficult choices made in counterterrorism policy suddenly going to forget all about it and become cheerful? Are applicants with Asian or African names going to fare as well as others in the restricted job market that is to come? If not, will they quietly accept their fate? And how could London’s Conservative-run Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) announce recently that the Met is no longer affected by institutional racism?”

    The above is a caption from the article in the New Statesman. These are key issues the last racist New Labour government deliberately refused to address. The problem has now come back to bite them.

    “In relation to the police service Blair rejects the claim made by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson that the Metropolitan Police Service is no longer institutionally racist. ”

    How this man became the mayor of London especially after he made it categorically clear that he was not going to appoint a Race Awareness Advisor is one I cannot fathom. With comments like the quote above, he is clearly biting the fingers that are feeding him, and showing that he is in need of some race awareness training too. I hope this huge mistake in voting Boris in as mayor will be addressed at the next mayoral election.

    “He accuses the current Home Secretary and Trevor Phillips, head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, of being virtually silent on addressing the issue of the disproportionate impact of public sector cuts on vulnerable communities.”

    Trevor Phillips knows where his bread is buttered. His plight in his high profile position as a non – white British Citizen highlights the vulnerability of non – white British Citizens in decission making positions in this country today. Trevor Phillips was a complete stooge to New Labour and their disgracful racist policies.

    One last warning to the coalition about their staying silent on this matter. It would be a cruel shame if another generation of non-whites are being cruelly starved of proper equal opportunities, and are forced to vent their frustration by taking power from legislation and on to the streets. This will further highlight the rapid slide in race relations under a very bad and racist New Labour government, which the coalition govenment are deliberately refusing to address.

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