LETTER:Sir Paul Condon's damaging race statistics

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The Independent Online
From Ms Norma Jacqueline


Sir: How regrettable it is that the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Condon, has sought to alienate the black and white communities by expressing the problem of mugging in terms of the number of muggers who are black (report, 8 July).

Sir Paul has voiced his dismay over the years at the lack of ethnic minorities (black and white) who fail to apply for employment to the police force. He said he felt it was important that minorities joined the police force, as it would help to improve relations between them and the different communities.

Mugging, burglaries and fraud (which is committed more by middle-class and upper-middle-class white males) is a global problem. How much easier it would have been for Sir Paul to present crime figures in a more balanced manner by giving details and statistics regarding serious criminal acts for all communities, including the white community. It may well be that the black male community would feature prominently, but at least its statistics would be placed alongside statistics for other groups.

Televised reporting of British football hooliganism shows white males "supporting" their country. Are there any statistics available for what type of crimes these "supporters" commit when they are abroad and how they compare with the statistics of black football hooliganism?

No, better to highlight a problem that has its routes in poverty, repression and oppression (which does not make it inexcusable in any way) for all minorities, including whites, where energy, will, and hope have been systematically crushed over the years and where there is no chance of substantial comeback.

It goes without saying that these comments have further seriously damaged relationships between the black community and the police, but how much less creditable is Sir Paul's position within the force.

Yours sincerely,

Norma Jacqueline Beckford

London, SE4

8 July