Black police officers 'still face uphill struggle'

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The Independent Online

Black police leaders warned yesterday that ethnic minorities would still face an uphill struggle to reach senior positions despite the appointment of Michael Fuller as Chief Constable of Kent.

Mr Fuller, a deputy assistant commissioner with the Metropolitan Police, will become Britain's first black Chief Constable. He has taken a tough line on drugs and the glamorisation of guns through music, film and television advertisements. He joined the Met as a cadet in 1975, moving to the Special Branch as a uniformed officer. He has won praise for his work combating burglary and targeting drug dealers. Mr Fuller, 44, also served on the Met's Racist and Violent Crime Offences Force in the wake of Scotland Yard being accused of "institutional racism'' in the Stephen Lawrence case.

Chief Inspector Leroy Logan, chairman of the Black Police Association, said he was pleased his colleague had broken through the barrier.

He said: "It's important we take one step at a time and keep pressure on the organisation and the police authorities and say there are black police officers just as capable as their white counterparts to lead a force area or even the Met.

"I would like to think in my lifetime there would be a black police officer willing and able to take on that role.''

But he added: "You have to understand the ferocity that the organisation can throw at you, especially if you are willing to stand up against the chill factor in the organisation and against other people being devalued and dehumanised.''