Key Links



Death Penalty


Justice System





Practitioner Links

Domestic Violence

Mental Disorder

Restorative Justice

Sex Offenders

Substance Misuse



News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

March 8, 2005: CRE Report on Police

The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) has just published the final findings and recommendations of its formal investigation into the Police Service of England and Wales. The CRE formally decided to commence its investigation on 16 December 2003. The CRE has concluded that the Police Service is like a permafrost – thawing on the top, but still frozen solid at the core. To address discrimination within the police, the report supports the introduction of a disciplinary offence of racial misconduct “so that such cases are easy to identify and record."

The investigation team assessed the race equality schemes of 15 police forces and 5 police authorities. 14 out of the 15 forces' schemes and all of the authorities' were found to be non-compliant. All of these schemes have since been judged by the CRE to be compliant with the race equality scheme duty.

Sir David Calvert-Smith QC led the investigation. He was Director of Public Prosecutions at the Crown Prosecution Service between 1998 and 2003. Since January 2005 he has been a High Court Judge. According to Sir David:

“There is no doubt that the Police Service has made significant progress in the area of race equality in recent years. However, there is still a long way to go before we have a service where every officer treats the public and their colleagues with fairness and respect, regardless of their ethnic origin.”

“Willingness to change at the top is not translating into action lower down, particularly in middle-management where you find the ice in the heart of the Police Service. For example, managers are not properly supported or fully trained on how to handle race grievances, so relatively minor issues are often unnecessarily escalated.”

Referring to the murder of Stephen Lawrence and the BBC's 'Secret Policeman' programme, Sir David added:

“More than two decades on from Scarman and over five years since Macpherson, we should be at a stage where real and measurable progress can be made on race equality without innocent black teenagers being murdered or BBC documentary makers infiltrating the Service.”

“We welcome the improvements that have already been made and the strong leadership shown by the Association of Chief Police Officers. But the fact remains that every time you drill down you find that ice, and unless more is done, it won't melt any time soon.”

Responding to the report CRE Chair Trevor Phillips said:

“When I announced this investigation, I asked how the Police Service would reassure me that they have in place a recruitment, training and vetting regime that prevents racists from donning the uniform. I recognise that we will never be able to weed out every single racist, but if we can change the culture of the Police Service so that racists are made to feel uncomfortable and isolated, fewer and fewer recruits of the sort so graphically displayed in the 'Secret Policeman' will want to sign up.”

“Where racists do get into the service they have to be managed and their victims protected. The investigation found an atmosphere of overwhelming fear of reporting racist incidents; this has to be extinguished and racist behaviour dealt with effectively. “

The report also reveals a lack of joined-up governance and haphazard compliance with the statutory duty to eliminate racial discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity and good race relations. Sir David commented:

“We recommend that the Home Office assumes overall responsibility for dealing with race equality issues... We also found that none of the organisations we worked with complied fully with the race equality duty. For example, we wanted to find out whether ethnic minority officers were being disproportionately disciplined, but when we asked a sample group of forces for their discipline statistics, two thirds were unable to provide them in the requested format. These forces were either not recording the data as required by the ethnic monitoring duty or were not properly monitoring them. We also found that few forces appeared to be carrying out full race impact assessments of their new policies; risking difficulties arising which could have been ironed out earlier.”

CRE chair Trevor Phillips commented:

“Sir David Calvert-Smith's findings tell us we are making progress, but the 'police family' clearly still isn't up to the mark on the race equality duty… We don't want to be heavy-handed – we want to work with all involved in the governance of the Police Service to melt this ice. But if no-one's prepared to hit the defrost button, we will simply have to turn up the heat.”

The National Black Police Officers Association welcomed the CRE report.

The report also recommends that racial misconduct is made a separate and, depending on the gravity, sackable offence.

The investigation focused specifically on employment issues, and did not look at service delivery (e.g. stop and search). The terms of reference covered:

  • the adequacy and effectiveness of race equality schemes for police forces and authorities
  • the screening and training of recruits
  • the identification and management of racist behaviour and the disciplinary process
  • the effectiveness of grievance procedures
  • the role of monitoring and inspection bodies in assessing how individual forces and the service as a whole, combat racial discrimination and comply with their race equality duty