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Controversy Surrounds Police Initiative Addressing Racism Amid Accusations of Racism

Controversy Surrounds Police Initiative to Combat Racism as Accusations of Racism Arise

An initiative aimed at addressing racism within policing in England and Wales is now facing allegations of racism itself, raised by some of the ethnic minority staff involved in the program.

The Police Race Action Plan was introduced following the tragic murder of African-American George Floyd in the United States in 2020. Its primary objective is to foster improved relationships between the police and black communities.

However, former staff members who have spoken to BBC Newsnight claim that their perspectives were disregarded and undermined within the initiative.

One anonymous black individual expressed their belief that people like them were perceived as “troublemakers” or “difficult” for sharing their viewpoints. They stated, “There were open doubts about whether black individuals were even necessary for working on the plan. I increasingly felt that my voice, as well as my personal and professional experiences, were being dismissed.”

The staff member further revealed that they were treated differently from their white colleagues, citing a lack of additional support when faced with increased workloads.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), in collaboration with the College of Policing, developed the race action plan. Published in May, the plan acknowledges the presence of racism, discrimination, and bias within policing, expressing remorse for these realities and pledging to rectify them. The plan also acknowledges the need to gain the trust of black individuals, including police staff, and improve their overall experience with law enforcement.

Chief Constable Gavin Stephens, Chairman of the NPCC and the leader of the Police Race Action Plan, emphasized his commitment to delivering an anti-discrimination and anti-racist police service. He emphasized that any concerns raised about the conduct of individuals within the police force, internally or externally, are taken seriously. He added, “Anyone who harbors toxic attitudes, whether racist, misogynistic, homophobic, or discriminatory, has no place in policing.”

However, the BBC has obtained documentation that highlights additional complaints from ethnic minority participants in the program. Some individuals questioned the plan’s credibility and true intentions, stating that their negative experiences were downplayed in favor of maintaining a positive narrative.

A former black team member expressed complete disillusionment with the entire process, finding it perplexing that behaviors such as racism were displayed within a program aimed at improving the experiences of black people working in or interacting with the police. This raised doubts about the police’s genuine commitment to effecting tangible change.

Andy George, President of the National Black Police Association (NBPA), revealed that members of his organization had reported being marginalized and sidelined within the plan. He noted instances where they felt gaslighted and made to believe that they were the problem due to their outspokenness and challenging nature.

In May, the individual in charge of the strategy retired. Deputy Chief Constable Tyron Joyce, one of the most senior black officers in UK policing, faced unrelated allegations of bullying within the unit. He has not commented on this matter.

Chairman of the NPCC, Mr. Stephens, expressed his confidence in issuing a refreshed action plan that will bring about the necessary changes in the police workforce and the communities they serve. He acknowledged the experiences shared in the report, expressing deep sadness and reiterating the need for transformative change within policing.

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