Tuesday 24 May 2022 12:16 AM Row erupts after race issues plan as leaders refuse to agree over ... trends now
A row erupted following the launch of the plan to tackle racism yesterday as police chiefs were grilled on whether forces were ‘institutionally racist’.
In farcical scenes after the action plan was announced, the leaders refused to agree or disagree with the label.
They were then chastised by chairman Abimbola Johnson, the barrister in charge of the Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Board overseeing the project, who declared it was an ‘easy question to answer’.
She added it was ‘disheartening’ that senior police leaders could not accept the phrase ‘institutionally racist’ – a term first used to describe Scotland Yard after blunders allowed the racist killers of black teenager Stephen Lawrence to escape justice in 1993.
During the launch, which was billed as a historic opportunity to tackle racism within forces, she also told the chiefs that they should be ‘woke’ and proud.
Police chiefs could not agree on calling forces 'institutionally racist' after the launch of the plan to tackle racism yesterday (pictured: officers scuffling with an anti-racism protestor in London 2020
The National Police Chiefs’ Council announced a £2.5million initiative to tackle racism and biases within forces (pictured: Black Lives Matter protestors in 2020)
The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the College of Policing launched the project to eradicate racism as they are ‘ashamed’ of the discrimination and bias which plagues forces.
It is the first time in history that leaders have come up with their own plans to tackle racism, announcing proposals that include officers being given history lessons on past policing of black people.
But within minutes of announcing the £2.5million initiative, there were clashes after Miss Johnson declared that police were ‘still institutionally racist’.
College of Policing boss Andy Marsh refused to express an opinion on the matter and West Midlands Chief Constable Sir Dave Thompson, who is leading the project for NPCC, said that ‘there is always this danger of polarisation of language’, adding: ‘I find it hard to answer as a yes or no