Tuesday, April 12, 2005

A Nice Knock Down Argument

The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry

12. That the definition should be:

'A racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person'.

13. That the term 'racist incident' must be understood to include crimes and non-crimes in policing terms. Both must be reported, recorded and investigated with equal commitment.

14. That this definition should be universally adopted by the Police, local Government and other relevant agencies.

Lewis Carroll

'But 'glory' doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argument',' Alice objected.

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master -- that's all.'

Time for me to jump on my soapbox again. The recommendations of the 1999 MacPherson report have been adopted. Read through the left hand column again and imagine that you are a UK Police Officer dealing with, for example, name calling by children; a non-crime in policing terms, that you must report, record and investigate as if it was a crime if it is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person. Imagine the paperwork required for you to be able to demonstrate that you have discharged your duty in this respect. Imagine your reaction next time you hear the Home Secretary promising to reduce bureaucracy in the force.

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