A NEW report has found out that black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) police officers are treated more harshly than their white colleagues when a complaint is made against them.
A National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) report revealed that BAME officers were subjected to ‘unfounded investigations’ based on poor evidence and suffered ‘unfair treatment’.
Even for minor complaints which could be easily resolved by a meeting with their bosses, the cases against BAME officers are often recommended for an official investigation and stays on their record, reported The Times, citing the report.
Due to the ‘negative experience’, BAME officers were telling their communities, families and children not to join the service, the report revealed.
Representation of BAME officers is just 7 per cent of forces in England and Wales in 2018-19.
The NPCC’s study was based on an analysis of 15,441 complaints in England and Wales. It found that 33 per cent of complaints made by members of the public against BAME officers were assessed to be misconduct or gross misconduct and referred straight into the disciplinary process, compared with 12 per cent against white officers.
There was also a disparity in internal conduct complaints, with 93 per cent of BAME cases assessed as misconduct or gross misconduct compared with 85 per cent for white colleagues
According to the report, the internal culture within the service is feeding the levels of disparity due to fear of reprisals or being labelled.
It said: “Inadvertently the avoidance of dealing with low-level matters at the earliest opportunity is magnifying those levels of distrust and resulting in the exact consequences those supervisors are seeking to avoid.”
“BAME officers were consistently treated worse in the complaints process. There is institutional racism at the core of the culture and behaviours within policing,” Shabnam Chaudhri, a former Metropolitan Police officer, told The Times.
She was investigated for gross misconduct over her use of the booking system to record shift patterns, but later she was cleared and given “words of advice”
Phil Cain, the deputy chief constable of North Yorkshire and the NPCC’s lead officer for workforce diversity and representation, has called for ‘openness’ in the service so that people will have ‘the trust and confidence’ to join the police.
In February the Home Office overhauled processes to ensure that complaints were resolved quickly and proportionately.