Bullet Proof Turbans
Ten years after the publication of Sir William Macpherson’s report into the murder of Stephen Lawrence, and the allegation of ‘institutional racism’ still hangs heavily over British policing. Although, there remains doubt over whether or not this allegation is still relevant – and indeed some confusion, for many, as to what the term ‘institutional racism’ actually means – it would seem that some positive steps have been taken.
Most recently, the British Sikh Police Association has been set up with Sergeant Kashmira Singh Mann as its chairman. Although, the association has only been in existence for a month, it has already begun to tackle an important issue for Sikh constables, that of inclusion in all areas of policing. At present, Sikh police constables are excluded from becoming firearms officers because of the lack of protection their turbans offer. However, the British Sikh Police Association is pushing for continuing research into bullet proof turbans, to enable their ‘members to play a full role in the police’.
Hopefully, by facing such issues of exclusion head on, it seems likely that the police and Home Office are still committed to the Macpherson Report’s recommendations – particularly points 64-66 – relating to the recruitment and retention of minority ethnic staff.