The programme revealed Greater Manchester Police's officers using horrific terminology and voicing aggressive fantasies they wished to deploy against ethnic minorities. It is a wonder how they were accepted into the service which is supposedly bringing criminals to justice, when they are the actual criminals. The programme did not do much for the already 'eroded public confidence in the police'15, other than make the situation worse. Even though Sir William Macpherson identified the MPS as institutionally racist in February 1999, six years on the national police force has failed to improve its ways.
The Macpherson Inquiry was supposedly an aid and warning to the police force on a national basis, and not just to the MPS, to improve their communications and handling of ethnic minorities. Why then, have the police Service failed to do this? Sir William Macpherson held that 'there must be an unequivocal acceptance of the problem of institutional racism and its nature before it can be addressed. ' Thus, unless the Police Service admits that racism exists, nothing can be done. Perhaps this is where the Police Service has gone wrong.
Their failure to own up to such unacceptable behaviour has led to a failure to rectify the problem. The former Commissioner of the MPS, Sir Paul Condon refused to accept that 'institutional racism' was a problem in his police force. Perhaps Sir Condon is "colour blind" and cannot, therefore address a problem which he cannot see himself. 'A colour blind approach fails to take account of the nature and needs of the person or the people involved'. 16 'The history of the police is… imbued with racism'17 and is a problem which can only be eliminated if targeted at its roots-through its officers and senior authority.
Black activists have been voicing the problem for many decades, but they have failed to reach the attention of the authorities, and 'it is only when people have fought back against racism that anyone in power has been forced to acknowledge it. '18 It is hardly practical to begin a riot or parade in order to inform an authority that there is a problem within its organisation; you will probably get yourself arrested. The authority should be willing to listen, at least to your complaint, before carrying out a suitable investigation into the matter.
The Police Service has carried out numerous investigations of its own, but has not detected institutional racism, but then why has a journalist been forced to go undercover as a policeman-because the public clearly do not trust the police and wish to investigate for themselves. Furthermore, if the senior authorities of the Police Service are racist then this 'reinforces the racist views of individuals'19 and in a manner of speaking, gives them permission to carry out their duties in a racist and prejudice manner. The result, therefore, is an overload of reforms, of which only a handful will be considered; 'more racial awareness training.
More black police officers. '20 I still fail to understand how this will make a difference to the 'corrosive disease'21 that is already embedded within our police force. 'Changing the colour of the police does not change police culture; changing police culture, however, may help to change the colour of policing. '22 The police have paid attention to some of the suggested reforms presented to them, and despite the 'rotten apples' there are those who genuinely want to make the country a safer place for every breathing person in England.
'Since April all forces in England and Wales have given a written record to everyone stopped or subjected to stop and search in the street'23 preventing police officers from abusing their powers against all members of society, not just ethnic minorities. Furthermore, since the July 7th London bombings there has been major 'concern among Muslims that they would be unfairly targeted'24 by the police. It seems that as time progresses the public begin to lack more and more faith in the Police Service.
In conclusion, I agree with Sir William Macpherson that the Metropolitan Police Service is 'institutionally racist', but I also feel that this applies to the rest of the police force on a national basis. It is time for the Policing Services to move forward and stop living in the Victorian times. Britain is changing every day and in order for it to remain one of the most developed countries in the world, its members must move forward, particularly those who are in charge of the day-to-day running of the country.
'We have to take the lessons we learned about stop and search with regard to the black community'25 to help us improve our relations with ethnic communities. It is time to eliminate this 'canteen culture' from its root and do something about the selection process of our police officers. The words of Martin Luther King have never made more sense than at this present moment in time: 'I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. '