The National Black Police Association (NBPA) acknowledges that policing has tried to ensure we deliver our services in a professional and appropriate way that does not discriminate on grounds of colour, culture or ethnic origin. Despite the desire to change things we regrettably
acknowledge that policing is still institutionally racist and the definition created during The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry by Lord Macpherson is still applicable today.
Institutional racism does not mean all officers or staff within policing are racist but recognises the systems and processes that have developed over years in a majority white workforce and which work to the detriment of Black, Asian and other ethnically diverse officers, staff and communities. This can often be due to a lack of thought and lived experience from ethnically diverse perspectives involved in the early stages of decision making which results in an organisational failure to provide a fair and professional service to all.
Some of these processes directly impact on our day to day policing response which creates a lack of confidence and mistrust with the very communities we need to engage with and recruit from. A problem can never truly be overcome until it is first acknowledged and institutional
racism can be a catalyst for change if we accept it and put meaningful checks and measures in place to counter its existence.
People often operate within the boundaries which are acceptable and the failure to fully acknowledge racism in policing and wider society has prevented meaningful progress in racial equality. Policing must be pro-active in identifying and dealing with more subtle forms of racism
and as Lord Scarman stated as far back as 1981, we need a “direct attack on racial disadvantage.”
The NBPA continue to support members who are deeply impacted by the symptoms of Institutional Racism which often involve unwitting and thoughtless actions as well as overt racism and the use of discriminatory language. Too often it is the organisational response to
allegations of racism and discrimination which deeply impacts the wellbeing of our members and adds further evidence to the institutional nature of racism in policing.
The NBPA will continue to work with policing to better understand institutional racism and provide solutions that deal with it’s traumatic consequences.
17th January 202