GN Law - Our People News and TV

Racism, the police and the complaints system – is it working?

Our People - Luke Cowles
19 June, 2014

On 16th June on Channel 4, the “Dispatches” series ran an episode titled ‘Secrets of the police’ looking at the issue of how police forces are handling complaints of racism.

If you watched the programme, you will know that the answer is – not very well. Dispatches made hundreds of Freedom of Information requests to compile basic statistics. Across England and Wales 1% of all complaints of racism involving the police were upheld between 2005 and 2012. That was an average of all the police forces – but for some individual police forces the statistics were even lower. The Metropolitan Police upheld just 0.4%, whilst Greater Manchester upheld 0% after receiving 519 racism complaints in the period.

Are these statistics to be believed? It is, of course, possible that the complaints were all properly investigated and the results an accurate reflection of a national police force that has all but stamped out racist attitudes discovered in the past. Equally, many will fear, with some justification, that the figures demonstrate that the complaints procedure is not fit for purpose.

I want to stress that it is unfair and wrong to brand the police ‘racists’ in blanket terms. The police have taken steps since The Metropolitan Police were labeled ‘institutionally racist’ following the Stephen Lawrence inquiry.

Part of the problem comes down to the way in which complaint investigations are investigated. Many people feel that their complaints are not being taken seriously enough, and that – in the absence of independent evidence – complaints are not being upheld.

So what next? Given the statistics, is it even worth bothering to make a complaint of racism? My opinion is yes, it is always worth making a complaint. While the chances of your complaint being upheld appear to be small, there is no chance at all if you don’t complain.

Related Articles

Code 1.7A states the Appropriate Adult’s role is to safeguard the rights and welfare of juveniles and vulnerable people. If you have been interviewed without an Appropriate Adult, and without a solicitor, then it may be the police have breached their statutory duty.
Our People - Luke Cowles
Andrew Guile advises clients upon all aspects of bringing compensation claims against the police.
Our People - Andrew Guile
The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime sets out the services and the minimum standard for these services, that must be provided to victims of crime by organisations in England and Wales.
Our People - Cerise White
The Islington Support Payment Scheme is now live for those who suffered non-recent abuse at a care home under the authority of Islington Council.
Our People - Luke Cowles
This article will explore a victim’s rights when disagreeing with a decision made by the police or Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) not to prosecute a suspect. The police have investigatory powers and present their evidence to the CPS. The CPS are a body that determines whether there is a suitable amount of evidence to persuade a court that a person...
Our People - GN
Emma Bergin provides a useful summary of the operation of Schedule 22 to the Coronavirus Act 2020.
Our People - GN

Send a message

We will only use the information you enter in this form to contact you about your enquiry and will not share it with anyone else. Please read our Privacy Notice.

Please note that we are not accepting any new housing work at this time.