2014 and still no confidence in making complaints against the police on the grounds of race

News release from Voice4Change EnglandVoice4Change England
June 2014

For immediate release

2014 and still no confidence in making complaints against the police on the grounds of race

Voice4Change England note the recent figures obtained by the Channel 4 Dispatches programme about the number of complaints of racist nature against police officers. As a BME infrastructure organisation working with both national organisations and groups on the ground it reinforces our own view on this issue.

To have a thousand complaints a year over an 8 year period lodged against the police is worrying as a statistic but to have just 1% of those complaints upheld is deeply disturbing. Despite the creation of the Police and Crime Commissioner posts that were elected in November 2012 (V4CE commented on the anniversary of the elections last year) there is still little confidence in the complaint process.

Estelle Du Boulay, Director of Newham Monitoring Project, which is an independent anti-racist community group stated:

"The confirmation that only 1% of police racism complaints are upheld indicates the scale of the uphill battle that individuals and wider communities face when trying to hold the state to account and why it is so important to keep up the pressure to overhaul the existing complaints system.

Our organisation receives numerous complaints from the public about incidents or patterns of racist policing. Many people feel it is pointless to complain as they do not trust the complaints system to be independent or fair; others find their complaints are not upheld and find themselves involved in lengthy and often fruitless cycles of appeals and reinvestigations. In both scenarios, the end result is that racism within the police is effectively allowed to continue. The repercussions of this should not be underestimated; engrained inequality at an institutional level damages the functioning of society as a whole."

We also observe with great interest the call from activists and community groups to begin to take private prosecutions against the police and civil action in the light of these institutional failures. A People’s Tribunal or Commission that will deal with complaints in a truly independent manner and look into deaths in custody etc. is well overdue.

Voice4Change’s ALTERNATIVE PERSPECTIVESconference on the 26th June at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre, London will begin to address some of these issues and others. Estelle du Boulay will be speaking as well as Patrick Williams from Manchester University talking about the policing of gangs in Manchester and how African-Caribbean and Asian men are disproportionality represented in this. 

We also have speakers such as Arzu Merali from Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) Charles Ejogo Dragon’s Den winner and Nelufar Hedayat Presenter, BBC Newsround.

KUNLE OLULODE, director of Voice4Change England(V4CE), said:

‘When members of our communities have a grievance against the police there has to be complaint processes in place that are fit for purpose and that are effective. The recent FOI figures that Channel Four obtained point to a complete failure of these processes and Voice4Change and others are right to ask the IPCC and the Police Commissioners to deal with the deficiencies in the mechanisms in place to ensure that justice is seen to be done. Our conference on the 26th is about starting to identify solutions within our sector’

For more details about V4CE’s Alternative Perspective please click here






Notes to editors: 

Voice4Change England


Voice4Change England (V4CE) is a national advocate for the Black and Minority Ethnic voluntary and community sector (BME VCS).  BME voluntary and community organisations (BME VCOs) are a crucial part of civil society that have emerged from and work for BME communities.  By supporting the BME VCS we aim to improve the life outcomes for BME and other disadvantaged communities. 

For more information or interviews please contact Communications Officer Saqib Deshmukh on 020 7697 4243 or email saqib@voice4change-england.co.uk