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Police Relations With Minority Ethnic Communities

3570 words - 14 pages

Police Relations with Minority Ethnic Communities

The Macpherson report was published in 1999 amidst problems of racial
inequality and a lack of faith in the police amongst minority ethnic
communities. There is an ongoing debate on whether Macpherson’s report
was a help or a hindrance with regards to minority ethnic relations
and the police; it is this dispute that the essay shall examine. To
begin with the paper will look at the problems, which existed prior to
Sir William Macpherson’s publication and which led to the publication
of his report. It will then proceed to examine the failures of the
Scarman report, in order to look at both the prior problems and
failures regarding the 1981 Scarman publication and see how these two
sets of factors affected the way in, which minority ethnic communities
responded to Macpherson’s report. The essay will then continue on to
highlight two main areas of recommendation made by Sir William
Macpherson and judge whether or not these were successfully carried
out and what effect, if any they had on the minority ethnic community
relations. Finishing with the introduction of the acts, which were
inspired by and followed the Macpherson report, and discuss the
results, which they had on police, minority ethnic relations.

The problems in Britain regarding racism prior to the Macpherson
report and the failure of the Scarman report to remedy these, could
have been said to have meant that police and minority ethnic
communities were instantly bettered just by the mere publication of
Macpherson’s article. Racism was not actually registered in the eyes
of the government and police as a crime until the early 1980’s. But as
a result of the rising public outcries and the increasing statistical
and research evidence suggesting unfair racist practices occurring
within the police, the government and policing bodies had to at least
acknowledge the existence of racism as a problem in society. The
Bradford riots in 1995, and other public outcries showed the growing
animosity that was being felt toward the police by minority ethnic
communities. Another factor, which led the opinions of minority ethnic
citizens of the police to become additionally hostile, is the ever
advancing statistical and research evidence of racism within the
police force. In 1978 Stuart Hall et al showed most clearly how,
largely on the basis of pre-existing stereotypes minority ethnic
people (in particular black people) were being criminalized and
subjected to extraordinary policing and punishment. Both these factors
increased the feelings of hatred for the police amongst minority
ethnic communities. This was then furthered by the subsequent failings
of the Scarman report. These included his failure to explain properly
in his report the main reason why black people were so angry with the
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