Churches welcome CRE report on police

 The Churches' Commission for Racial Justice (CCRJ) yesterday welcomed the Commission for Racial Equality's report into policing in Britain. Describing the report's findings as a "huge challenge to the Police Service and a vital step towards a more inclusive and responsible police service" CCRJ urged that the key recommendations should be embraced and carried out quickly. The formal investigation into the policing in England and Wales followed the screening in autumn 2003 of the BBC's undercover film Secret Policeman, which revealed shocking racism, and disturbing inclinations by police cadets training in the Greater Manchester Police Force towards racist violence and malicious abuse. The secretary of CCRJ, a commission of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, the Revd Arlington Trotman said: "We welcome the findings of the CRE's report because, if carried out with political will and determination, the key recommendations to screen out police cadets and remove or charge serving officers under the law with racist abuse of black and minority ethnic people, will do a great deal to build public confidence, but also shatter the 'canteen culture' of subtle and overt racism inside the service." "The report makes key recommendations on training and recruitment screening, managing behaviour, performance development reviews and accountability. Some recommendations listed were made in the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report published in February 1999 and appear still unfulfilled," asserts Mr Trotman. Mr Trotman said: "While the tendency of black and minority ethnic people is to avoid joining the police service because of the prevailing culture of racism, the recommendation that 'all chief officers should ensure that their forces should review their positive action steps with regard to the recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups, and ensure that they reflect best practice within the police service' (Recommendation 18) is especially important and welcomed. But it is absolutely vital that much more is done speedily to bring about real and lasting change in the way the service treats black and minority ethnic people, and how policing is delivered across the community." Source: CCRJ

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