Cleveland Police chiefs deny force is ‘institutionally racist’

Cleveland Police Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer.
Cleveland Police Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer.

A POLICE force has denied being “institutionally racist”.

Cleveland Police was forced to issue a statement refuting claims that it was institutionally racist after a report containing alleged concerns about the issue was leaked.

It is believed the report reveals allegations of how officers were called racist names by their own colleagues.

The force denied the racism claim but a spokeswoman said: “That is not to say we did not have some serious issues to address.”

The force has also denied that black and minority ethnic officers are undermined intentionally, saying that there is “no evidence to support this.”

ITV Tyne Tees News claims it was handed a report in which the allegations are listed.

In a statement, Jacqui Cheer said that in 2011 the Cleveland Black Police Association presented her with a report that covered 17 areas of concern, which had been raised by its members.

She said: “This report also indicated 70 per cent of the force’s Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) officers and staff had experienced issues that they believed related either directly or indirectly to their ethnicity.”

Mrs Cheer said that as a result of that report, a review team, led by then Superintendent Darren Best, was established which involved interviewing members of staff.

Mrs Cheer added: “There are a number of reports detailing the finding of this work which have determined the activities that have already taken place and others which are ongoing in order to address the issues.

“Those that took part did so on the strict understanding and a personal commitment from the temporary chief constable that the reports and associated material would not be disclosed without their permission.

“It is therefore disappointing that this process has been undermined by someone deliberately disclosing information without any context.”

The force aims to publish a comprehensive summary of the findings along with an action plan if consent from everyone involved is given.

She added: “I am aware that there are concerns about how we deal with public complaints, internal misconduct investigations and grievances, and although we have made some progress in this area, there are still improvements to be made.

“This work has of course been part of the wider programme to achieve cultural and organisational change following recent issues.

“That change has to start with the Chief Constable and I am committed to seeing through the improvements to address the issues raised.

“As with all cultural change, if it is to be sustainable and significant, it will take time to achieve. We have made some considerable improvements which have benefitted all officers and staff, and these were initiated by the Cleveland Black Police Association and the work of the review team, and I would like to thank and acknowledge their courage and support in making those changes.”