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More than 90 per cent of police race equality schemes examined by the Commission for Racial Equality fail to meet ...
More than 90 per cent of police race equality schemes examined by the Commission for Racial Equality fail to meet minimum legal requirements, the CRE announced today.

The announcement came as the CRE published the interim findings of its formal investigation into the police service of England and Wales.

Outlining the emerging findings from the first stage of the investigation, David Calvert-Smith, who is leading the investigation, said:

What is clear from our initial findings is that the police service has a long way to go in addressing race equality. We were concerned to discover that many forces and authorities are failing to meet their legal obligations in this area.

Under the Race Relations Act, all police forces and authorities have a statutory duty to produce a race equality scheme. Prior to the start of the investigation the CRE chair wrote to all police forces and authorities requesting a copy of their schemes. Although all 43 police forces had a scheme, three police authorities did not have one.

During the investigation, we assessed a sample of 15 police force schemes and five police authority schemes. Disappointingly, out of the police force schemes we assessed, only one was fully compliant with the requirements of the legislation. And none of the five police authority schemes assessed were compliant.

We recommend that the forces and authorities concerned rewrite their schemes by May 2005. However, we also recommend that the CRE commences enforcement action in relation to the schemes we have assessed as being non-compliant or only partially compliant.

Sir David went on to comment on police officer training, and disciplinary and grievance procedures. He said:

'We are concerned that, despite significant effort and expense being put into diversity training since the Lawrence Inquiry, there appears to be little evidence that this training is: giving officers an understanding of what constitutes racial discrimination and how it can lead to an abuse of police powers; challenging stereotypical and prejudiced attitudes; encouraging personal re-examination of such attitudes and supporting officers to challenge racism in the workplace.

'It is also evident that a widespread culture of fear still persists in the police service, so that many with legitimate grievances or problems - particularly probationers - are afraid to raise their concerns for fear of the consequences.

'We have heard from the IPCC, ACPO, and others, that they do not believe that current disciplinary procedures are working effectively. The national and regional black police associations have also told us that ethnic minority officers are being disproportionately subjected to disciplinary action.

'We will be re-examining these and other areas of concern highlighted in the report in more detail in the second stage of the investigation.'

He concluded:

'Many of our concerns have been highlighted before by other inquiries. There is no doubt that post Lawrence much progress has been made on race equality in the police service. However, our evidence suggests that there is still a long way to go and that good intentions are simply not being matched by action.

'We are adamant that this formal investigation is not going to be just another excuse to attack the police, but will offer the police service and related bodies an opportunity to effect realistic, practicable and effective change. In our final report, we intend to produce a set of clear and realistic recommendations to bring about real and lasting change.'


1. The CRE formally decided to commence a general formal investigation into the police service on 16 December 2003.

2. The investigation has been divided into two stages. During the first stage, the FI team carried out background research into relevant practices and procedures and heard evidence from police officers and interested bodies. The emerging findings will be more fully investigated in stage 2.

3. The final report will be published in January or February 2005.

4. For further information about the CRE's formal investigation into the police service click here.

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