Police body's anti-racism `insensitive'

BLACK POLICE officers reacted with fury yesterday to an "inappropriate and insensitive" anti-racist poster campaign launched by the Police Federation. The Black Police Association boycotted the launch and said the campaign, which deliberately uses shock tactics, could backfire by offending many black and Asian people.

The posters, to be displayed at police stations, show images of black and Asian people with racially stereotypical slogans.

One shows a black man with the question: "Been Mugged?" Underneath the picture is the advice: "Tell him - he's a police officer". Another reads: "What do you call a black man in a BMW? - A police sergeant on patrol." A third poster shows an Asian woman with the slogan: "Open All Hours?". A smaller caption reads: "The Police Service has to be".

The association also at-tacked the timing of the initiative, which comes amid a national race terror campaign and less than two months after the Stephen Lawrence inquiry report concluded that the police service was "institutionally racist". Inspector Paul Wilson, the chairman, said: "We have not got a problem with the message. It's the messenger. The Police Federation has a very poor image with the black community. During the Stephen Lawrence inquiry it was most intransigent, defensive and adversarial."

Inspector Wilson added: "Do we really need a poster campaign depicting racial stereotypes produced by, of all people, the Police Federation."

But speaking at the launch of the pounds 30,000 campaign, the Police Federation's chairman, Fred Broughton, described the initiative as "a ground-breaking step". He said that the police service was "confused and divided" over race relations. The posters would challenge passive racism and reassure ethnic minority communities.

"Our reputation has suffered, we must restore confidence," he said. "Black and Asian police officers and minority communities need reassurance. They remain to be convinced that we mean what we say about fairness."

Mr Broughton said he realised that the posters would be seen as "provocative" and accepted they may not be well-received by all black and Asian people. "Whatever you think of them, like them or loathe them, they will generate interest, generate controversy and generate discussion," he said.

Mr Broughton said the federation had informed black and Asian community leaders of the content of the campaign and been given "no negative vibes".

The four people featured in the posters are not police officers but a professional basketball player, a dancer, an actor and a medical student. Real black officers were not used in the pictures because such a high- profile campaign could limit their chances of working undercover later in their careers, Mr Broughton said.

He said he was "disappointed" that the association had declined an invitation to attend the launch but said the two organisations had been holding regular talks in the past six months on race issues.

Less than 2 per cent of the 125,000 police officers who are in the federation come from minority communities.

Bob Purkiss, chairman of the legal committee of the Commission for Racial Equality, said he understood the association's concerns but still welcomed the campaign. "The `do nothing' option was not on the table," he said. "[The Police Federation] are trying to address their collective failure in the past." Mr Purkiss said that to have delayed the campaign launch because of the nail bombings in would have sent "the wrong message".

t The Chief Constable of Merseyside, Norman Bettison, admitted yesterday that his force was "institutionally racist" after spending six months gathering evidence on bigotry in the ranks.

Mr Bettison said a new task force had been set up to re-investigate more than 300 cases in which race had been an issue and he hinted that a number of officers could be sacked for their racist views.

News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
people
News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
Arts and Entertainment
arts + entsWe have created an infogaphic that looks back over the previous incarnations of the Doctor
News
Australian rapper Iggy Azalea was left red faced but, thankfully, unhurt after taking a few too many steps backwards, sending her tumbling off the stage.
peopleIggy Azalea was left red faced but apparently unhurt after taking a few too many steps backwards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
newsComedian Lee Hurst started trend with first tweet using the hashtag
Sport
Romelu Lukaku scores during Everton's 3-0 win over Arsenal last season
LIVEFollow all the action as Everton take on Arsenal in the final Premier League game of the day
Life and Style
A nearly completed RoboThespian robot inside the Engineered Arts workshop is tested in Penryn, England. The Cornish company, operating from an industrial unit near Falmouth, is the world's only maker of commercially available life sized humanoid robots
techSuper-intelligent robots could decide destroying the human race is the kindest thing to do
News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Software Developer (Java /C# Programmer)- London

£30000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global investment management fi...

Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CCNP, Cisco, London)

£65000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CC...

Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, Cisco, CISSP)

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, C...

Senior Network Engineer-(Design, Implementation, CCIE)

£60000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(Design, ...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition