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Film blows lid off racism in police

BBC reporter Mark Daly secretly filmed cops disparaging Black student Stephen's character and threatening an Asian recruit.

india Updated: Dec 25, 2003 21:34 IST
Nabanita Sircar
Nabanita Sircar

Four police officers were suspended after allegations of racism by a BBC documentary, the excerpts of which were released on Monday. Home Secretary David Blunkett had earlier accused BBC of preferring stunts to report real news. "We have raised concerns with the BBC. We work hard to tackle racism in police," he had said.

His anger could not, however, save the four who used offensive language against Blacks and Asians. The damning footage shot by BBC's reporter Mark Daly, who went undercover and joined the Greater Manchester Police as a £18000-a-year trainee, revealed utter racist tendencies in the said recruits who have now been suspended.

The suspended officers, three from the Greater Manchester constabulary and one from North Wales, were suspended after a few senior officers viewed a small section of the programme, The Secret Policeman. The identity of the officers who have been suspended has not been revealed.

A senior member of the Black Police Association hailing the suspension said that the documentary showed the existence of institutionalised racism in the Force.
It is learnt that senior officers are privately incensed that the BBC has refused to let them have an advance viewing before it's telecast (later tonight).

Alan green, the deputy chief constable of greater Manchester said:"We are disappointed that despite repeated requests we have not yet received a copy of the programme from the BBC to enable us to take immediate action."

"However, in the light of the information we have received from elsewhere, we have no hesitation in suspending these officers pending a thorough investigation.We have always made it clear that any racist behaviour in whatever form will not be tolerated within Greater Manchester."

Daly, 28, could complete his nine-month police training. It took two months for the Force's internal affairs department to identify him, after a tip off that police ranks had been infiltrated. He could film the documentary with pinhole cameras which he kept inside his uniform and in his car.

BBC has insisted that Daly had been investigating "a matter of great significant public interest" and kept his salary of £18000 in a separate account. It would be returned to the Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

The Corporation declined to comment on the suspensions on the ground that the GMP had not disclosed the identities of the four officers.

The excerpts released by the BBC are devastating. They include an allegation that an officer dressed in a Ku Klux Klan mask at the Bruche Training Centre in Warrington made an apparent confession that he has it in him to murder a "f…… Paki bastard".

First Published: Dec 25, 2003 21:33 IST