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Race lead says she's never witnessed internal racism in her career

Met DAC Amanda Pearson who is NPCC lead on Inclusion and Race says she has not seen racism towards colleagues in her career.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Amanda Pearson is Programme Lead for the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) Plan of Action on Inclusion and Race, and stop search lead for the NPCC.

DAC Pearson was asked today (19 November) during a session at the NPCC/APCC summit what the most egregious example of racism she had seen in her force.

“I can’t readily think of an example,” she told the conference.

BBC journalist Clive Myrie, hosting the conference, pushed her, asking again “have you seen an incident in your professional life, involving colleagues where there’s been racism?”

“I am being honest with you, I haven’t seen that,” she replied.

She has been an officer since 1993 and has served across four forces: Hampshire, City of London, Thames Valley and the St Helena Police Service.

A delegate asked how someone who had never witnessed racism be leading on race and inclusion.

DAC Pearson said: "What I have had is a situation where I felt that some of our senior leaders who were from black and ethnic minority backgrounds were being promoted into positions of senior leadership, for the first time and weren't necessarily being provided with the same level or supportive network, perhaps a white officer would have had, and having spoken to them and our Black Police Association in the Met, they felt that meant that there were limited opportunities to build that network and have that support given that they were in the minority."

Clive Myrie responded by saying “that’s interesting because that is precisely what racism is”.

“Either you’d forgotten it when I asked if you’d ever witnessed racism or you didn’t realise, and if you didn’t realise then that’s problematic.”

On the issues of institutional racism, DAC Pearson said: "That's a discussion that needs to be had among the 43 forces."

Speaking alongside DAC Pearson was Abimbola Johnson, chair of the NPCC's Action Plan's scrutiny panel. 

Ms Johnson said: "I find it quite bizarre all of this effort is going into devising a plan that deals with institutional racism, but you will not label it as such.

“And if you don't have the bravery from your position to call it out how do you expect your subordinates to call racism when they see it in their day to day interactions with their colleagues?” asked Ms Johnson.

The Home Office yesterday (19 November) published figures on stop search which increased by 24 per cent in the year ending March 2021. 10 per cent resulted in an arrest.

Black people were seven times more likely to be stopped.

DAC Pearson was asked when the figures came out if she was angry. 

"I was frustrated,” she said. 

Ms Johnson said: "One of the things I find quite fustrating around the narrative is it nearly always starts with saying 'stop and search is a really effective tool'. 

"When you look at the figure I wonder by what measure policing is saying that. 

"77 per cent result in no further action."

 

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