Police are suspended over BBC race claims

Four police officers were suspended yesterday after allegations of racism were made by a BBC documentary. One officer from North Wales Police and three from Greater Manchester Police were suspended as internal investigations began.

In the documentary, an undercover BBC reporter claimed to have taped racist comments by a number of officers. It is also alleged that an officer at the Bruche training centre in Warrington, Cheshire, wore a Ku Klux Klan mask.

David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, also called on the forces involved to take "decisive action" to stamp out racism. But he criticised the BBC's methods, saying that the corporation intended "to create, not report" the story.

He also suggested the BBC had carried out a "covert stunt" and had leaked information to the media in an attempt to get publicity for the documentary, The Secret Policeman, which is to be shown tonight.

Deputy Chief Constable Alan Green, of Greater Manchester Police, said yesterday that the allegations of racism would be investigated fully before being referred to the independent Police Complaints Authority.

"We have always made it clear that any racist behaviour in whatever form will not be tolerated within Greater Manchester Police," he said.

Mark Daly, a BBC reporter, secretly filmed officers over five-and-a-half months. A BBC spokeswoman said: "We believe that the evidence we have obtained would not have come to light other than through undercover filming."