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The police

Race relations and the police

Positive relations between the police and minority racial groups are crucial if the police are to build safer, more stable communities.

Over the last decade, the police service has devoted itself to improving its record for diversity and race relations, particularly in the UK's more racially diverse communities. Work on this issue continues, and it will take time to earn the trust of many people, but progress has definitely been made.

Defining racist incidents

All forces have now adopted the proposed definition of a racist incident, which is: ‘a racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person’.

Code of practice for reporting and recording racist incidents

A code of practice on reporting and recording racist incidents outlines specific details that need to be recorded, treatment of victims and witnesses, and how agencies should work together to tackle racism.

Community and race relations training

All new police recruits, including officers and administration staff, are trained in communicating to people from varied racial groups, to ensure that they have an acceptable approach to race relations.

Community interaction is an integral part of the training, and police recruits meet members of local minority groups to discuss their experience with police, and to learn what can be done to improve relations.

Investigating serious complaints against police officers independently

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (new window) (IPPC) was established in April 2004. It’s responsible for thoroughly investigating allegations of racist behaviour against police officers, and ensures that such investigations are not tainted by cronyism or favouritism.

Increasing recruitment of minority ethnic police officers

Work continues to hire more black and minority ethnic police officers, particularly in communities with large black and minority ethnic populations. This process has been yielding rewards, as police forces are increasingly diverse. We recognise that the more a force reflects the local community, the better and stronger that force will be.

Other race relations initiatives

Here are some other ways police have been improving relations with minority groups:

  • new recruits go through a two-year probation period where their behaviour and attitudes towards ethnic minorities are monitored
  • police are forbidden from being or becoming members of the British National Party, Combat 18, or the National Front

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