Asian decoys to trap racists

Click to follow
The Independent Online
PLAIN-CLOTHED Asian police officers are to be used outside football grounds as "decoys" to arrest people who racially abuse them.

The controversial strategy forms part of a new approach by Scotland Yard, outlined in a document called Operation Spectrum, a copy of which has been obtained by The Independent. The tactics will include the use of DNA testing on racist material, such as posters, paid informants, and greater use of undercover officers.

It comes amid growing police concern over the findings of the inquiry into the death of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence. The operation will be seen by some as a pre-emptive strike against inevitable criticisms in the inquiry.

Under the new approach, "sting" operations will be mounted at football grounds and pubs. Racist pupils and teachers in schools, universities and colleges will be targeted.

The use of "undercover operations" will include obtaining evidence against racist police as well as infiltrating far-right organisations. There are also plans to use a computer system linked to surveillance cameras that can identify a vehicle number plate and owner in seconds.

Operation Spectrum has been drawn up by the Metropolitan Police's racial and violent crime task force, headed by Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Grieve.

It also outlines a range of initiatives to rebuild community relations. This will include promoting anti-racist measures by advertising on beer mats, tax discs, till receipts and posters. Cash rewards will be offered for information about racist crime. Anti-racist concerts and open days are also planned.

Detective Inspector Richard Walton, the author of the report, said: "This document shows that we can use the same techniques used against terrorists and drug dealers as for race crimes. It also shows that race crimes are a top priority."