Senior mixed-race officer: Dawn Butler stop was 'courteous'

22 August 2020, 09:35

Dawn Butler targeted by 'racist trolls' after police stopped car in east London
Dawn Butler targeted by 'racist trolls' after police stopped car in east London. Picture: Dawn Butler

By Asher McShane

A senior mixed-race police officer has said he does not believe policing is institutionally racist and that the vehicle stop involving Labour's Dawn Butler was "professional and courteous".

The leader of the National Black Police Association, said this week that the incident with Ms Butler was "rooted in a biased system that views black people as criminals or drug dealers".

But Che Donald, the Police Federation's national vice-chair, said body-camera footage of the incident had shown the officers who initiated the stop were "professional and courteous".

Labour MP Dawn Butler accuses Met Police of racial profiling after they stopped her driving through Hackney

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said: "However, because of the nature of the stop, the profile of the occupant and the media coverage, the focus of debate has been on the officers, rather than on whether the incident itself was legitimate, proportionate and without prejudice or bias.

"When we start to review incidents in this way, seeking to further the proposition that the police are guilty of racial profiling or institutional racism, it is inevitable that personal interpretations will play a role, whether they are supported by the evidence or not."

Mr Donald, who wrote he identifies as mixed race and experienced racism growing up in South Africa, added: "I do not personally take the view that policing is institutionally racist, yet I do believe that we should do far more to address the policies and procedures which create the perception that it is."

It comes as new figures suggested the majority of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people feel there is bias against them within police forces and that they are treated more harshly in courts.

Around two thirds (65%) of ethnic minority communities in Britain surveyed for charity Hope Not Hate feel members of the police are biased against them.