Police ignoring race reforms

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RACE RELATIONS reforms are being ignored by police forces throughout the country and ethnic minority officers are continuing to leave because of harassment by white colleagues, a damning report by government inspectors has found.

A survey of all 43 forces in England and Wales has discovered that all but five - the Metropolitan Police is among them - have made no progress in improving race relations.

The study by the Inspectorate of Constabulary, to be published on Monday, will say that little improvement has been made in tackling racism since they last carried out a national inspection.

The report, which follows a detailed inspection last October of 15 forces in England and Wales, comes five days after the publication of the watershed inquiry into the Stephen Lawrence murder and will highlight the gulf between anti-racist policy statements and the reality of everyday policing.

Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, will tell chief constables on Monday that the lack of progress is unacceptable and change must be introduced rapidly.

The report is expected to say that "too many forces" are "disappointingly" failing to implement race relations programmes. It says the behaviour of some officers continues to be racist and unacceptable.

For the first time the Inspectorate has produced a table of the worst and best performing forces in terms of race relations.

The 43 forces in England and Wales were asked 15 questions about their anti-racism initiatives and policies. The Independent understands that the only forces considered to be making progress are the Metropolitan Police - condemned by the Lawrence report for its "institutional racism" - South Wales, West Yorkshire, Bedfordshire and Leicestershire.

Informants' fears, page 4

Letters, Review page 2