Majority of BAME Police Staff Say They Were Racially Abused24 Jun 2020
As Black Lives Matter protests continue to highlight issues of systemic racial discrimination and unequal treatment, police officers of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are starting to come out with stories of their own experiences of racial discrimination.
An exclusive survey conducted by ITV News found that a significant majority of BAME police officers have been racially abused by members of the public.
Incidents of racism aren’t limited to the public. A Pakistani Muslim police officer who requested to not be named says that she was forced to resign from her position after facing a hostile and “racist” work environment.
Nearly 70% of BAME police staff say they’ve been racially abused
The survey conducted by ITV News targeted 238 serving BAME police officers. It is believed to be the first survey of this type that analyses racism experienced by police officers. Its findings paint a distressing image about the state of racial relations in the UK. Nearly 70% of the officers said that they have suffered racist abuse from the members of the public while carrying out their duty. 45% also said that they had received racial abuse from other BAME members of the public.
Despite these, most officers said that some progress has been made since 199 when the Macpherson report labelled the police as “institutionally racist”. Around 65% said that they believed progress has been made in contrast to the 35% who said that no progress was made. 41% also said that the racism problem has worsened in contrast to the 59% who said it had not.
Michael Fuller, the UK’s most senior BAME police officer when he was chief constable of Kent Police, said that the figures are “shocking” and expressed that he hoped the UK would have grown out of overt racism. He also said that a lot of reports were published with recommendations, but few of them were actually implemented.
“Hostile and racist” work environment is forcing BAME officers out
The results of the ITV report come as BAME police officers are expressing concerns about the internal work environment of the police itself. A Pakistani Muslim police officer who spoke to the Guardian under but requested to not be named said that she was forced to resign from her position as inspector superintendent in January 2020.
The officer, who was the most senior BAME and Muslim police officer in the London Metropolitan Police at the time, said that she was subjected to unfavourable discriminatory treatment, including being blocked from promotion; undermined; not supported; harassed and bullied, describing the work environment as “toxic”. The officer says that she was even harassed during the filing of the complaint itself.
The officer was among those who had filed a report about a swastika that was scrawled in the officers-only sections of the Metropolitan Police station in Edmonton last year. An officer who was also arrested on suspicion of links to a banned far-right organisation in March 2020 is the likely suspect.
“Her case is emblematic of racist work environments,” said her lawyer.
The Metropolitan Police has declined to comment on the case.