Black and blue: the secret lives of BAME police officers

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In 1990, BAME police officers gathered to discuss racism at work, sharing what each had thought were uniquely harrowing experiences. They explain how things have improved – and got worse

Thirty years ago, in a nondescript hall in Bristol, an extraordinary event took place. Those who were there remember it with a mixture of pride and pain.

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In what is now the University of the West of England, black and Asian officers from all over the Metropolitan police area were talking about the racism they had encountered as they tried to build their careers and serve the public. One told of having abuse daubed on his locker in a secure area of the station, another of finding faeces in his helmet. Some described their shame and embarrassment at sitting silently as white colleagues used racial epithets about suspects or while shooting the breeze in the canteen.

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