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Thread: The police and the politics of skin colour

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    Default The police and the politics of skin colour

    I was just flicking through the BBC news website this afternoon and spotted this story:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-23301993

    A young woman aged 21 was sexually assaulted whilst sunbathing in a London park. Before any rabid foaming-at-the-mouth ultra-leftist (not to mention any names) cries that I am being a racist, I haven't got a clue whether this man has black skin, white skin, brown skin or blue skin. What is clear is that both the girl involved and the police know what colour his skin is - the fact he is described as being in his late 20's and the clothes he was wearing (white teeshirt, dark tracksuit bottoms) proves this.

    What I can't understand for the life of me is why either the police or the BBC (and I'm assuming here that it is the police rather than the BBC) are refusing to reveal the ethnic identity of the suspect. It is not like we haven't had this discussion here before, and it seems like there is a deliberate policy on the part of the police not to include skin colour as part of the description of a suspect. What a mind-bogglingly inappropriate piece of submission to the fear of being racially insensitive is all I would say. Surely publicising the skin colour of a suspect is likely to be one of the most important factors in catching the suspect and bringing him to justice, preventing him from inflicting another appalling crime on an innocent victim. Sometimes we have to realise that some things are more important than political correctness or upsetting the easily-offended leftist minority.
    Last edited by Northumbrian; 07-13-2013 at 05:00 PM. Reason: removed name to please moderator

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    Super Moderator eatmywords's Avatar
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    Northumbrian, can you not name members in posts if they haven't contributed to it please.
    Faced with certain disaster, defiance is the only answer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eatmywords View Post
    Northumbrian, can you not name members in posts if they haven't contributed to it please.
    OK I've fixed my post. Perhaps now you would like to address the content of the post, rather than the poster (as you instructed the rest of us before!).

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    Senior Member Rook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Northumbrian View Post
    Surely publicising the skin colour of a suspect is likely to be one of the most important factors in catching the suspect
    I think we have to ask ourselves what the aim of the article is. If it's just 'news' in the broadest sense - telling people that a 'something' has happened - then the article doesn't need much more. It doesn't require anything but a copy and paste job from the police statement, no additional research is required (as that would mean your licence fee going up )

    But, if the goal of the article is to assist the police to catch the bloke, then it did a piss-poor job of it. Not only was there no mention of the suspects race, but there was no e-fit and not even a time and exact location of where the incident took place. The police could have (and perhaps they should?) included this info in the original press release, but that would create more of the dreaded paperwork!

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    Super Moderator eatmywords's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Northumbrian View Post
    OK I've fixed my post. Perhaps now you would like to address the content of the post, rather than the poster (as you instructed the rest of us before!).
    Seeing as I was operating as a moderator, and addressing the fact you were trying to provoke a response from members, then I thought I should intervene. And even in your response you are trying to provoke a response from a member. Please don't do it again.
    Faced with certain disaster, defiance is the only answer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eatmywords View Post
    Seeing as I was operating as a moderator, and addressing the fact you were trying to provoke a response from members, then I thought I should intervene. And even in your response you are trying to provoke a response from a member. Please don't do it again.
    Since unlike yourself, I prefer my discussions on here to be a two-way process (its much more fun and interesting!), of course I was trying to encourage a member (i.e. yourself) to enter a debate on my post, rather than attacking me for my minor faux pas in etiquette. Is this what you mean by "trying to provoke a response"?

    On reflection, of course, trying to engage you in debate is a rather futile process as you seem unable to appreciate the finer points of debating (such as answering your opponents questions and addressing his/her points). I am guilty of not learning my lesson and I am truly sorry for this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rook View Post
    I think we have to ask ourselves what the aim of the article is. If it's just 'news' in the broadest sense - telling people that a 'something' has happened - then the article doesn't need much more. It doesn't require anything but a copy and paste job from the police statement, no additional research is required (as that would mean your licence fee going up )

    But, if the goal of the article is to assist the police to catch the bloke, then it did a piss-poor job of it. Not only was there no mention of the suspects race, but there was no e-fit and not even a time and exact location of where the incident took place. The police could have (and perhaps they should?) included this info in the original press release, but that would create more of the dreaded paperwork!
    One would imagine that the only reason the police release information to the press is in order to help with their enquiries. I take your point about the e-fit, but I suppose there is not always enough information from the witness(es) to produce an e-fit, and this would probably take some time to produce even if there was. However, the level of detail of the information that was given out (approximate age, clothing) would certainly be consistent with a mention on the skin colour of the suspect. It is hard to imagine that the age of the suspect would have be known to within a few years if his face had not been seen!

    If this was just an isolated instance, one could argue it was an oversight by the police or a simple omission by the BBC in reporting the facts. However, it does seem to be an increasing pattern that basic descriptions of suspects, which once would automatically have included ethnic background, are now lacking in this detail. Once again, for the benefit of those who like to fling around accusations of racism, I am not assuming anything about the racial background of the man in this case. If the suspect had white skin, then this should have been included in the description.

    Without the detail of skin colour in descriptions, I am sure some suspects are not getting apprehended. In this case of the woman assaulted in the park, I'm sure someone may have seen a man running away from the scene of the crime and may not have put "two-and-two" together until reading a description of the crime/suspect which included the suspects skin colour. This witness may therefore not come forward, and the case against the suspect (assuming he is caught and it goes to court) will be weakened.

    The only conclusion I can make, unless someone has a better idea, is that ethnic origin is being omitted for politically correct reasons, e.g. to avoid damaging race relations/causing upset to a particular racial minority. One can imagine some sensitivity over describing someone who has brownish skin, e.g. are they Asian or Mediterranean or Hispanic or Middle Eastern or Mixed Race? However, given the importance of catching suspects and giving the best description available it should be perfectly acceptable in my opinion to describe such a suspect as having "brown skin". Isn't justice for victims more important than tying ourselves up in politically correct knots? I guess if you are a Guardian reader the answer is probably sadly no.
    Last edited by Northumbrian; 07-16-2013 at 01:50 AM.

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