Thursday, October 23, 2003

K K K in the UK

Four British police officers have been suspended following allegations of racism prompted by undercover reporting in a BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) documentary.

The officers, three from Manchester in north-west England and one from north Wales, were suspended after police chiefs viewed the program The Secret Policeman.

In the documentary it is alleged an officer dressed in a Ku Klux Klan mask at a training centre in north-west England. An undercover reporter from the BBC also claimed to have taped racist comments by some officers.

"We are disappointed that, despite repeated requests, we have not yet received a copy of the program from the BBC to enable us to take immediate action," police spokesman Alan Green said.

However, in the light of the information we have received from elsewhere, we have no hesitation in suspending these officers pending a thorough investigation," he said.

The matter has been referred to the police complaints authority and further action will be taken against any other officers who are shown on the programme making racist comments, the spokesman said.

The move came after British Home Secretary David Blunkett called on the forces involved to take "decisive action", a Home Office spokeswoman said.

But his office repeated its criticism of the BBC's methods, accusing the corporation of making the news rather than reporting it. In the BBC documentary about racism in the police, broadcast on Tuesday local time, trainee officers are seen expressing open prejudice to undercover reporter Mark Daly.

One trainee is filmed wearing a Ku Klux Klan-style hood and discussing whether to assault a colleague of Asian origin, newspaper The Mail on Sunday said.

The same man also speaks disparagingly about Stephen Lawrence, a black teenager whose 1993 murder, and the bungled police investigation into it, sparked a national debate on prejudice in police forces.

Mr Lawrence "deserved it", while the teenager's murderers should receive "diplomatic immunity", the trainee - who is now a policeman, is seen saying.

By The Secret Policeman 23 October 03