Racial diversity still an issue in police force

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The Metropolitan Police must improve its racial diversity, according to the police commissioner.

Bernard Hogan-Howe said that, although progress had been made, the police service is still unrepresentative of the communities it served.

The force has come under renewed scrutiny following the trial of two men for the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993.

In 1999 the Macpherson report into the handling of the case found the Met to be institutionally racist and recommended a serious of measures to improve police services.

Since the inquiry the number of black and ethnic minority officers servicing in the force has risen from 3.4 per cent up to 9.5 per cent, according to the most recent data released in March of last year.

However, these numbers do not reflect the racial and cultural diversity of the population of London, meaning that ethnic minorities are still far from being adequately represented in the force.

But, the Commissioner does believe that the Met is “hugely different from where we were” when Stephen Lawrence was murdered.

When asked whether he felt the force was still institutionally racist, he replied: “I hope we are not but it is a bit like asking someone if they are a nice person. Are we the best people to ask?”

Another leading figure has suggested that racism is still just as prevalent in the Met as it was back at the time of the inquiry.

Dr Stone, a member of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry panel, told The Independent that he felt that the service is still institutionally racist.

“The police really haven’t moved on when it comes to racism at all,” Dr Stone said. “After all that effort that everybody put in, somehow nothing has really changed.”

The issue is particularly serious among the higher ranks of the force.

Dr Stone pointed out that, since 2008 when Tarique Ghaffur resigned from the role of assistant commissioner, no ethnic minority officer has risen above the level of commander in the service.

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