The chief constable of Police Scotland on Thursday became the most senior officer in Britain to admit that his police force was institutionally racist and discriminatory. File photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License photo
May 25 (UPI) — Scotland’s top police officer publicly acknowledged Thursday that Police Scotland was “institutionally racist and discriminatory” as the first step in addressing the force’s problems.
The right thing to do as chief constable was to “make it clear that institutional racism, sexism, misogyny and discrimination exist”, Sir Iain Livingstone told a meeting of the Scottish Police Service in Glasgow.
“Police Scotland is institutionally racist and discriminatory,” he said, adding that the prejudice and misconduct revealed in recent court cases, staff feedback and complaints was deeply worrying, and he condemned it in full.
“Public recognition of these institutional problems is essential to our absolute commitment to equality and becoming an anti-racist service,” Livingstone said, stressing that the recognition is not an admission that individuals within the organization are racist or sexist.
Livingstone, who is retiring in the summer, stressed that he had already overseen changes to recruitment to make it more rigorous, including enhanced vetting of candidates, and introduced more transparency to performance, primarily to prevent problems.
Racism, sexism and homophobia experienced by officers and staff was detailed in the initial report of a review into Police Scotland’s working culture published this week.
The review also found that people who complained were disciplined or blocked from career progression.
Last year, Police Scotland paid out £1.2m. $500,000 in damages to ex-firearms officer Rhona Malone after a lawsuit filed by her boss over sexism.
An independent review of London’s elite Metropolitan Police, Baroness Casey, said the force was institutionally racist, misogynistic and homophobic, but Police Scotland’s admission shows it is the biggest force with such failings after Bedfordshire and Britain’s Transport Police.
The Met has acknowledged that it has problems with individual officers — bad apples — but has refused to admit that the institution is inherently racist, misogynistic or anti-gay.
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