Why has Police Scotland been branded 'institutionally racist and discriminatory'

Why has Police Scotland been branded 'institutionally racist and discriminatory'
Scotland police is 'institutionally racist and discriminatory', says chief constable

Police Scotland has been branded institutionally racist and discriminatory by one of its top coppers.

Speaking a meeting of the Scottish Police Authority, the chief constable of the force, Sir Iain Livingstone said prejudice and bad behaviour within the force was "rightly of great concern" and called for change to happen.

Sir Iain, who is to retire in August, said: "It is the right thing for me to do, as Chief Constable, to clearly state that institutional racism, sexism, misogyny and discrimination exist.

"Police Scotland is institutionally racist and discriminatory. Publicly acknowledging these institutional issues exist in our organisation is essential to our absolute commitment to championing equality and becoming an anti-racist service,

"It is also critical to our determination to lead wider change and support wider change in society."

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He said that people from different backgrounds or with different requirements "don't always get the service that is their right" and that this was also true for the force's own officers and staff.

He added: "There is no place in Police Scotland for those who reject our values and standards.

"Our vigilance as an organisation has never been stronger - rigorous recruitment, enhanced vetting, more visible conduct outcomes and a focus on prevention.

"The onus is on us, the police service, to address gaps and challenge bias, known or unwitting, at every level, wherever bias occurs, to maintain and build confidence with all communities".

Reacting to the statement, first Minister Humza Yousaf said that, as a person of colour, the admission was monumental and historic.

He said: "The acknowledgement from the chief constable is very welcome indeed. I hope it also serves as a reminder to all of us that in whatever organisation we lead that we examine and reflect on whether we are doing enough to dismantle those barriers".

Meanwhile, Scottish Police Authority chairman Martyn Evans described the statement by the chief constable as a "watershed moment" for policing in Scotland and the UK.

It comes after a recent review uncovered first-hand accounts of racism, sexism and homophobia by serving officers.

Meanwhile, last year the force launched a four-year strategy called "Policing Together" to tackle discrimination in the force and in the community.

The force is also under pressure due to an ongoing public inquiry into whether race was a factor in the death of Sheku Bayoh, who died after he was restrained by police officers in Kirkcaldy.

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