The credibility of the police‘s repeated promises to rid the force of racist officers faces renewed criticism after new figures revealed that only 1% of complaints by the public levelled against forces across the country for racist behaviour are upheld.
Members of the public lodged 7,963 allegations of racism against police officers in England and Wales over an eight-year period, according to the figures, of which 77 were upheld when the police investigated them. Three officers have been dismissed as a result.
The figures, collated through freedom of information requests by Channel 4 for a Dispatches programme to be broadcast on Monday, show that 16 officers attracted five or more allegations of racist conduct from the public, while another 43 officers had four allegations, although none have been upheld by the police’s internal investigations.
Dame Anne Owers, the chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) watchdog, said the police were not handling the complaints well. She said that “common sense would tell you” that it was wrong to conclude from the figures that police forces no longer had a problem with racism.
She suggested that complaints did not appear to be investigated rigorously by the police if the complainant did not have video or audio evidence.