Police face legal action from race watchdog over ethnic officers

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The Independent Online

Britain's race watchdog will warn chief constables they must improve the treatment of black and Asian officers or face unprecedented legal action.

Britain's race watchdog will warn chief constables they must improve the treatment of black and Asian officers or face unprecedented legal action.

A damning report shows that more than half the forces investigated by the Commission for Racial Equality are failing to implement anti-racism policies.

The CRE launched its investigation into racism in the police last October after a surge in officers' complaints of racial abuse.

It followed the screening of the BBC'sPanorama documentary "The Secret Policeman", which showed recruits making racist remarks about fellow officers. One trainee was shown wearing a Ku Klux Klan-style hood and making insulting remarks about the murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

Tomorrow, Trevor Phillips, chairman of the CRE, will also reveal that forces are failing to implement race equality regulations, with only one out of every 15 having a scheme in place.

The report is also expected to show that a special psychometric test brought in to weed out racist officers has in fact been filtering out black and Asian recruits instead.

The Black Police Association (BPA), which represents black and Asian officers, said it would welcome the CRE's interim findings.

Dr Ali Dizaei, legal adviser to the association, said the BPA had been asking the CRE to use its powers against racist forces for more than two years.

"If this is the case, then it confirms what we have thought all along - and we hope that racism is tackled once and for all," he said.

"Police forces have made great strides in tackling racism in the community, but this is not reflected in their internal dealings with ethnic officers."

A source said the message from the race body was that chief constables had to improve conditions for ethnic officers.

"The bottom line is that they [the police] are in breach of the law," said the source.

"This is a warning to the police that they have to do something or we will do something about it."

Additional reporting by Steve Bloomfield