Letter: Met must change
Saturday 03 October 1998
It is not a matter of the particular motivation of police officers but the systems, procedures and ethos and assumptions of the institution as a whole. That is what is referred to when one speaks of institutional racism.
In the last 15 or so years attempts by the police to recruit and retain ethnic minority staff have come to very little. It is not enough to change the personnel if you don't change the systems that support them. It is not enough to have support systems in place if the basic assumption of the police is that to be a police officer is really to be white (and male).
Sir Paul may be the most progressive and enlightened Commissioner ever but this cannot mean that he can continue to preside over defensiveness and complacency. The Met, like most other institutions in Britain, is racist. It needs to change, but first it must acknowledge the need to change.
The writer is a former leader of Lambeth Council
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