Policies alone will not cure race discrimination

It is especially damning that the Crown Prosecution Service should be found
guilty of race discrimination. This is because one of the responsibilities of
the CPS is to make sure people from ethnic minorities are not more likely to go
to court than white people. However, there are lessons for all employers in the
report’s findings, and not just those providing a public service.

Overall the CPS discriminates less against ethnic minorities than employers
on average. It is only when it comes to promoting black and Asian lawyers and
administrators into the higher grades that its practices appear to be
discriminatory. Compared to many organisations, the CPS has tried hard to put
its house in order with equality videos and other initiatives giving race
discrimination a high profile among staff in recent years. In fact, one of the
ironies is that the CPS has tended to employ a relatively high number of black
and Asian lawyers because they face discrimination at the bar and find it hard
to enter private practice because of discrimination within the solicitors
profession.

It is significant that many senior CPS officers refused to accept the
statistics were evidence of discrimination, some even claiming they themselves
were the victims of political correctness, like the lawyer who said, "I am
white, I am male and able-bodied. I find myself in the situation where I do not
believe that there are prospects of promotion for people who are in my
position".

The chief lesson from the CPS report is that racial discrimination cannot be
ended by policies or by appointing equal opportunities officers alone. As Rohan
Collier, head of equality and diversity has admitted, a complete culture change
is needed, and this means changing attitudes, everyday behaviour and practices.

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