Pilkington, A. (2011) Policing in a post-racial society? A UK case study. Paper presented to: 11th Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology: Rethinking Crime and Punishment in Europe, Vilnius University, Lithuania, 21-24 September 2011.
Social commentators in Europe increasingly suggest that we are living in a post racial society. Such a position implies that there has been a radical transformation in major organisations, including the police. The starting off point for this paper is the report in the UK by Lord Macpherson which came to the conclusion that major organisations, including the police, were institutionally racist. This paper draws upon the author’s own research into a particular police force in Central England over the last decade to explore both continuities and changes in police culture and practice. Three particular issues form the focus of the paper: the policing of racist incidents, disproportionality in the use of stop and search; and the experiences of police officers from minority ethnic communities. The paper uses these three issues to examine what difference, if any, the Macpherson report has made over the last decade to race and policing