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The Association of Police Authorities today renewed its commitment to tackling race discrimination in the police se...
The Association of Police Authorities today renewed its commitment to tackling race discrimination in the police service following the publication of the Commission for Racial Equality's interim report* of the formal investigation into the police service.

Dr Ruth Henig, chairman of the Association of Police Authorities said: 'The interim report raises issues of considerable concern regarding racism in the police service. We will be considering the findings and recommendations of the report further with a view to deciding what action needs to be taken. Although significant progress has been made since the Stephen Lawrence Report, we all know that there is still much to be done to ensure that the police service is free from all forms of discrimination.'

The report states that three police authorities have not produced a Race Equality Scheme, as required under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. Commenting on this finding, Dr Henig said: 'We take issue with the CRE's claim that three authorities do not have a Race Equality Scheme. The APA has a copy of the Race Equality Scheme for every police authority in England and Wales. We will be inviting the CRE to reconsider this finding.'

Dr Henig added: 'Police authorities have a vital role to play locally in scrutinising and monitoring police performance on race and diversity issues. All authorities have been undertaking reviews of their own performance, as well as the force's, in this area and the results of these analyses will be available shortly. '

'Making sure that local people receive efficient and effective policing is our top priority. This can only be achieved by engendering trust and confidence in the service amongst all diverse communities. We are firmly committed to removing racism both within and outside the service and we will continue to work with our partners to make sure that racism in policing is stamped out once and for all.

The APA has offered its full support and assistance with the CRE investigation and we look forward to the publication of the full report early next year.'

Also responding to the CRE investigation, Richard Barnes, acting chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority said: 'The MPA welcomes the interim fin dings of the CRE investigation as we acknowledge that race equality and fairness at work are crucial to both external community and internal staff relations.

'The MPA has worked tirelessly since it was created four years ago to ensure that we are meeting our own requirements under the Race Relation's Amendment Act 2000. We have established an innovative programme of Equality Impact Assessments to ensure that we are meeting the General and Specific duties of the Act. The MPA has also established an External Reference Group of key voluntary, statutory and community organisations, to work with us to scrutinise the progress that we, and the Met, are making to develop our Race Equality schemes.'

'We have worked with determination to ensure communities are engaged in our activities in order to increase confidence and trust in the policing of London, drive forward the MPS to achieve a more representative workforce, and address concerns about fairness at work for ethnic minority officers and police staff.

'We are pleased that the CRE has acknowledged the integrity of the independent Morris Inquiry, set up by the MPA, into professional standards and employment matters in the MPS, whose recommendations and subsequent implementation by the MPS are likely to influence the CRE's own investigation.'

During the first four year term of office the MPA has commissioned extensive and influential scrutinies and reports that have addressed both external community relations and internal employment issues including:

  • published the MPA Race Equality Scheme (available here;

  • initiated the independent Morris Inquiry;

  • conducted the Virdi Inquiry;

  • carried out the Stop and Search Scrutiny making 55 recommendations to improve MPS practice in this contentious area;

  • carried out a review of MPS Community Race Relations training by an independent body;

  • overseen the MPS's recruitment an d retention policy which has recently secured the 2000th ethnic minority officer; and

  • initiated and supported the Pan London Race Hate Forum.

    In conclusion, Richard said: 'The Race Relations Amendment Act 2000, drawn up in response to the Macpherson Report, places a duty on all public bodies to actively promote racial equality. It is the role of the MPA to ensure the MPS implements policies and practices that will positive promote good race relations in its dealings with London's communities and MPS staff.

    'The MPA has been working closely with the MPS to ensure full compliance with the requirements of the legislation. The Authority would want to ensure that, for its part, it is held as an example of good practice and fully supports the Met in progressing its Race Equality Scheme.

    'The MPA is committed to fulfil the requirements of the legislation and we will be willing to meet with the CRE to discuss any further progress that may be required. '

    * Details of the Commission for Racial Equality's interim report are available on here.

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