In the UK the McPherson Inquiry is presented the defining moment in the race-relations. The resulting report’s now iconic analysis of institutional racism underpinning British policing ushered in an age of “diversity training” and “community policing” to reform racist policing practices. However 17 years later, are we closer to addressing antagonistic relations between the police and policed non-white communities? Racial profiling used in stop and search and gang –violence prevention, anti-terror legislation targeting Muslim communities, anti-immigration and asylum measures all operating alongside the still steady stream of deaths in police custody indicate we are not.
This session will question the utility of the McPherson report’s analysis in isolating the police as ‘institutionally racist’ without examining the state that gives birth and public policy that negatively impact non-white communities. Using the works of Steve Biko, Miranda Fricker and Bertrand Russell amongst others we will explore alternative conceptual frameworks to understand British policing and racism.