Force 'racist' to its own police
An internal investigation has revealed police officers may suffer institutional racism at the hands of their own force.
The Cleveland Police inquiry identified "a resonance" between how it treats its black and ethnic minority staff and the definition of institutional racism as set out in the Macpherson report.
The initial findings come days after former Cleveland traffic officer Sultan Alam was awarded £800,000 compensation by the force after being wrongfully jailed over a malicious prosecution brought by colleagues in 1996.
Acting Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer commissioned the inquiry after taking over last year. She said: "An interim report has been produced and there is a resonance between the initial findings and the definition of institutional racism as set out in the Macpherson report.
"These findings relate largely to the application of internal policies and procedures, and are being looked into in more detail by the Force, so that recommendations can be formed and implemented to fully address these issues.
"The review has not provided any evidence to suggest that the Force or individuals within it are racist in their dealings with the public. The review is a positive move for the Force and it is important to ensure that everyone gets an equal chance to fulfil their potential and be treated with respect and dignity."
Steve Matthews, chair of Cleveland's Police Federation, told The Northern Echo: "I welcome anything that checks and double checks that people are being treated fairly. I don't feel there is a problem with racism in the force. If I did I would be shouting it from the rooftops."
Mr Alam, 49, who made claims of racial abuse against the force, said he believed things had not improved and called for the whole report to be made public. He said racism had gone "underground" with ethnic minorities being denied the same opportunities as their white counterparts.
There are 27 black or ethnic minority police officers at Cleveland Police, three civilian staff and three volunteer special constables.
The publication of the Macpherson report in February 1999 delivered a damning assessment of the "institutional racism" within the Metropolitan police and policing generally.