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NCJ Number: 201708 Find in a Library
Title: Policing After Macpherson: Some Experiences of Muslim Police Officers (From Islam, Crime and Criminal Justice, P 76-95, 2002, Basia Spalek, ed. -- See NCJ-201704)
Author(s): Douglas Sharp
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 20
Sponsoring Agency: Willan Publishing
Portland, OR 97213-3644
Sale Source: Willan Publishing
c/o ISBS, 5804 N.E. Hassalo Street
Portland, OR 97213-3644
United States of America
Type: Survey (Cross-Cultural)
Format: Book (Hardbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter presents a study dealing with policing and the experiences of a small group of Muslim police officers after the publication of the Macpherson Report in 1999.
Abstract: This chapter begins with a discussion of the British police and the relationship between police and the community. Reports indicate a strongly held belief that the Police Service embraces a culture which is at best unsympathetic to and ignorant of minority populations, and at worst racist. Officials, however, were quick to locate the problem with individual officers rather than the service as a whole. The Macpherson Report, published in 1999, investigated the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence, and explicitly rejected the suggestion that racism was restricted to a small number of officers and accused the service as a whole of being institutionally racist. Publication of the report has led to improvements in the service, and it now acknowledges that racism is a problem that affects not only its ability to provide a proper service to the community but also to recruit and retain minority ethnic officers. This study was an attempt to understand some of the experiences of a small sample of Muslim police officers in England and Wales. While not representative of the experiences of all Muslim officers, it does highlight some of the problems faced on a regular basis by officers whose cultural background is different from the majority of police officers. Interviews were conducted with 14 officers, with length of service ranging from just over 12 months to 16 years. Eleven were constable, 2 were sergeants, and 1 was a junior officer. No demographic information was recorded. Several main themes emerged from the interviews. These included: the central importance of religion, the importance of belonging, the pressures of policing, and the experience of racism. For these officers Islam was clearly very important in their lives, yet none of them claimed to be devout. For them, service to the public and commitment to policing came first; Islam plays an important part in their cultural identity but they are prepared to compromise and they show remarkable tolerance in the face of adverse conditions. Results of this and other studies indicate that the Police Service has made changes, but much of the compromise and accommodation has been made by Muslim officers rather than the service as a whole. 19 references
Main Term(s): Police attitudes
Index Term(s): Cultural influences; Religion; Religious freedom; United Kingdom (UK)
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