What to Do If You Feel the Police Are Displaying Racial Discrimination
Accusations of racial discrimination should always be taken extremely seriously by law enforcement officials. Throughout the history of the police force, there have been numerous isolated reports of police brutality or prejudice against members of particular ethnic groups perpetrated by qualified individuals.It has long been a priority of law enforcers both to reduce the number of incidents that occur and to improve relations with members of the groups in question in order to prevent the continuation of these types of behaviour and the distrust they breed. For this reason, reporting any discriminatory or abusive behaviour displayed by a police officer or representative of the law should be a priority for any member of the public, not only in order to achieve justice for the victim and others from the same background, but also to help the police force to stamp out any further behaviour of this kind and work on creating better understanding and cooperation between their organisation and members of the public.
If you feel that you have been a victim of racial discrimination or abuse at the hands of the police, here are the steps you need to take to report it and take legal action.
1. Review What Took Place
Were you able to record the name and police station of the individual who made the abusive comments or took any offensive action? The more you can do towards identifying the perpetrator, the more likely they are to be disciplined or brought to justice. Were there any witnesses to the incident? Speak to anyone who was present and ask them to write down what they believe took place. Was anyone filming, taking pictures or recording audio on their phone at the time? Ask for a copy, as your complaint is far more likely to be believed and acted upon if you can use hard evidence to back up a step-by-step account of what happened. You also have the right to ask for any CCTV footage recorded in the area, though film of this kind may be destroyed after 30 days so it’s important to take action soon. Using all the evidence you have collected, you should be able to piece together an effective timeline of who did what and when. If you feel from the start that you will obtain enough material to form a strong case, you should definitely get a lawyer on board to assist you in this process.
2. Speak to Others in Your Community
It may be worth finding out whether the individual in question has a history of behaving in the way you have recently experienced. Bear in mind that the conduct you have witnessed may not be the only manifestation of their discrimination. True records of anything from apparent racial profiling to tasteless jokes, stereotypical assumptions and comments or insults revealing prejudice or hate can add to the strength of a case, particularly if the individuals who have experienced this behaviour are willing to support you if you make an official complaint. Remember, don’t take any risks while collecting this information – both your legal advisor and any investigators who are assigned to the case are qualified to do this in your place.
3. Report the Matter
When you feel you have a strong case, it’s time to report your experience. You can make contact with your local police station to do this – but it’s understandable if you would rather not, given the nature of your complaint. Another way to report racial discrimination by the police is via the IOPC or the Independent Office for Police Conduct, who can be contacted via 0300 020 0096 or by emailing [email protected].
You should feel well supported throughout your experience. Your legal adviser will be available to offer you help and advice throughout, and you should always strongly consider arranging for them to be present before entering into any official discussions about your experience.
For further assistance surrounding the reporting of racial discrimination by one or more members of the police force or any other authority, get in touch with DPP Law today on 0333 200 5859 or by filling in their online contact form here. The firm specialises in legal action against the police, and their helpful and knowledgeable experts are available to contact 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Do not hesitate to get in touch and begin your discussion.