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5 cops quit as film bares their racist face

Five police officers quit on Wednesday and three were suspended on Monday after a BBC documentary expose.

india Updated: Oct 27, 2003 20:10 IST
Vijay Dutt
Vijay Dutt

The Police Force in Britain is "alight with race fire". Five police officers from three Forces have quit on Wednesday while three were suspended on Monday after telecast of a documentary by BBC exposed them as racists.

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Blamed for institutionalised racism since a couple of years, the Metropolitan Police and regional Forces had been iterating that racist attitude was unacceptable and there were measures in place to check any racist behaviour.

BBC's Mark Daly had gone undercover as a recruit to Greater Manchester Constabulary for six months. He filmed with spy cameras other recruits mouthing racist abuses. The BBC telecast the documentary based on his recordings, despite Home Secretary David Blunkett expressing his displeasure at the "covert stunt" by Daly.

The documentary has caused uproar in the Forces. Senior officers have renewed their vows to root out racism. Sir John Stevens, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said he was absolutely appalled by what he saw on the BBC's <i>The Secret Policeman</i> and would personally have arrested them. He said: "I have been a policeman for 41 years at the sharp end, and I was absolutely astonished at their behaviour."

A criminal investigation has been launched into comments made by the eight officers, seven of them trainees to reporter Daly. Now, all the eight have been named. Five of them belong to the Greater Manchester Force. Its chief Michael Todd has pledged to do everything in his power to root out racism.

What the eight have said would rankle for long in the Asian and the Black community. The language they used was vile and their apparent bigotry disgusting. One of them was caught on the video camera talking of burying a "Paki bastard under a railway line" and openly praising Hitler. On Asian officers, one white PC said: "Truthfully? F*** them all of. I'll admit it, I'm a racist bastard. I don't mind Black. I don't mind Black people. Asians? No."

PC Rob Pulling was filmed wearing a Ku Klux Klan-style hood fantasising about burying a Paki b****** and saying the Black teenager Stephen Lawrence deserved to be murdered. He said: "He (Lawrence) f****** deserved it and his mum and dad are a f****** pair of spongers."

It was during the inquiry into Lawrence's murder allegedly by white youths that the judge had said there was institutional racism in the police. Blunkett has now promised integrity tests to weed out racist applicants and training process to ensure that racists were kept out.

First Published: Oct 27, 2003 20:10 IST