Avon & Somerset Police apologise for toxic racist behaviour – what would I do?

BBC News: Deputy chief constable Nikki Watson apologised on behalf of the force to a former investigator who was subjected to “toxic” racial abuse

Dept Chief Con Watson added: “It [the abuse] would be totally unacceptable nowadays. We would not stand for that behaviour.” This is the kind of statement that can come back and bite you later!

“The gentleman did come forward at the time and raise issues that were looked into and people were dealt with.” How were they dealt with and saying “But that sort of behaviour would not be acceptable in any way shape or form nowadays and potentially would be dealt with very differently.” How would it be dealt with now?

“They were just being racist and it appeared they had a vendetta against black people,” he said

He added the abuse got worse in 2012 when he moved to a new team and raised concerns about the culture. Some of the code names for police operations, he added, were named after semi-pornographic images which the BBC has seen.

“I was disgusted, horrified, and appalled by the unethical practices within the police force and how they use to use foul language when talking about women,” said the man.

“The prejudice against women was widely accepted and considered a normal thing. Which really made me uncomfortable.”

Desmond Brown, the chair of the local branch of the independent Lammy Review Group set up to examine the treatment of minorities in the criminal justice system, said he was angry at the culture highlighted by the officer.

“I’m furious the whistleblower had to go through this in a modern police force and I’m furious for the officers who do whistleblow and I’m worried for them that if this is the culture. This is very serious,” he said. “Black and brown communities have been saying this about the police. We keep being gaslighted – told this is rotten apples in a barrel and it’s just a few of them.

“What we are saying is that we need to look at the structure of that barrel and see why our apples are going rotten so often.”

Last year, Avon and Somerset Police had 12 gross misconduct cases. In all but two the officers lost their job. Most were for sexual abuse but two were for racism.

So what would I do? I make clear in police contracts that as public servants they MUST be respectful to EVERYONE they encounter.

Racists rarely come into a new situation/job spouting racist rubbish right from the get-go. No like all bullies, harassers and hate spewers they groom, they check for boundaries, like burglars casing a joint, they test how much they can say and to whom. If all officers are trained to recognise this grooming and empowered to tell perpetrators to knock it off or if it goes beyond the tentative to escalate. Police officers who can not be trusted to police their own behaviour can hardly be trusted to police ANYONE. 


Leave a Reply