Saturday, April 13, 2024

Uncovering Racial Discrimination: UK Police Face Calls for Sensitization

by Manjari Singh

In a shocking revelation, a former member of the West Midlands Police has exposed a disturbing culture of racial discrimination against Sikhs within the force. Rebecca Kalam, who served for a decade in the firearms unit before departing in July this year, has detailed instances of officers using racial slurs against Sikhs and displaying a concerning lack of understanding between Sikh and Muslim communities. Additionally, protection officers assigned to Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai were found to have derogatorily referred to her as ‘tikka masala.’

Kalam’s brave disclosure has reignited concerns about racial discrimination within the West Midlands Police, with allegations mirroring longstanding grievances from the Sikh community. These concerns have largely fallen on deaf ears within the force, despite changes in senior leadership and meetings with elected officials.

Jas Singh, advisor to the Sikh Federation, commented on the allegations, stating, “These shocking allegations of racism made by whistleblower Ms. Kalam against the West Midlands Police come as no surprise. The Sikh community across the West Midlands has been making such complaints and claims for decades, but all have fallen on deaf ears of the force.”

Singh emphasized the urgent need for a comprehensive investigation into the conduct and racist attitudes within the force. Calls have been made to West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster to initiate a thorough review.

Rebecca Kalam also highlighted the prevalence of toxic masculinity and misogyny within the force, where objectification of women was common, and offensive language was used freely. She expressed her determination to speak out against these issues, despite the personal cost to her career.

The West Midlands Police has acknowledged 75 of Kalam’s complaints, and a Professional Standards Department inquiry resulted in low-level sanctions or advice for 16 officers and staff within the firearms unit.

Deputy Chief Constable Scott Green of the West Midlands Police responded to the allegations, stating, “Officers and staff in the Firearms Unit work tirelessly, often in the most risky situations, to protect the public and perform their duties with the utmost professionalism, and they are disgusted at any conduct which falls below these standards of professional behavior.”

Green also emphasized the force’s commitment to understanding and respecting diverse groups and communities, conducting regular meetings with community and religious leaders. She stressed that there is no place for misogynistic, discriminatory, or disrespectful behavior in policing, and the force is working diligently to uphold the highest standards of professionalism and inclusivity.

Manjari Singh

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