The police stop of a car in which Labour MP Dawn Butler was a passenger was “rooted in a biased system that views black people as criminals or drug dealers”, the leader of the National Black Police Association has said in an interview.
Inspector Andrew George, the new interim president of the organisation, told the Guardian “we have to look at the processes which led to the stop being conducted”, adding: “Training, briefings and culture all contribute to racial profiling.”
He told the paper: “We have to acknowledge the hurt the black community is currently feeling and respond robustly to the consistent disproportionalities we see in police use of powers.”
Former shadow equalities secretary Ms Butler, who accused the police of being “institutionally racist”, was the passenger in a BMW driven by a friend, who like her is black, when they were stopped by police in Hackney, east London, last Sunday.
She told the PA news agency the incident was “obviously racial profiling”.
Scotland Yard said the stop was a result of an officer having “incorrectly entered” the car’s registration plate into a computer, to wrongly identify it as a vehicle registered to Yorkshire, but did not explain why the search was carried out in the first place.
Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh has insisted officers did “absolutely nothing wrong” and had “nothing to hide”.
But Mr George questioned the reason given for the stop, telling the Guardian: “I would ask why a vehicle being registered in Yorkshire and driving in a global hub like London is enough, by itself, to warrant checking the owner details.”
The National Black Police Association was formed after the racist murder of teenager Stephen Lawrence and in the wake of The Macpherson Report.