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Racism in the Police

File on 4 explores concerns black and ethnic minority officers in the UK suffer race discrimination and continue to be underrepresented in number and seniority throughout forces.

With the words ‘I can’t breathe’ reverberating around the world, the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK has put the issue of racial justice at the top of the political agenda. Twenty-one years after the Macpherson inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence labelled the Metropolitan Police ‘institutionally racist’, File on 4 explores concerns black, Asian and ethnic minority officers still face discrimination in the service.

Police forces in England and Wales are in the middle of an unprecedented recruitment drive, to add 20,000 new officers by March 2023, providing an opportunity to improve diversity. There is work to do, as Home Office figures for 2019, seen for the first time by File on 4, reveal many specialist positions continue to be dominated by white officers. There were only two ethnic minority officers among 184 in the mounted police; 15 out of 734 dog handlers; and 11 among 426 detectives in special investigations teams.

File on 4 asks whether the way black and Asian officers are currently treated is likely to be a barrier to attracting suitable candidates and if the changes will affect representation at senior ranks, where there are very few ethnic minority officers. The programme reveals data, collected by the National Black Police Association, that ethnic minority officers represent 14% of all officers under misconduct investigation and over 20% of inquiries that had progressed to a misconduct meeting or gross misconduct hearing, despite representing less than 7% of all officers. File on 4 hears from ex police inspector Mark Dias who was put under surveillance illegally by Cleveland Police and found to be the victim of racial discrimination.

Reporter: Danny Shaw
Producer: Oliver Newlan
Development Producer: Jane Andrews
Editor: Carl Johnston

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37 minutes

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