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Wednesday, 18th October 2017
 

POLICE FORCE NEEDS DIVERSE LEADERS

Police Sergeant, Lay Hindu Priest and Compassionate British Citizen, Raj Joshi, talks to Atul Shah about his vision and aspirations

1.       You have worked for many years in the police, rising to become a Sergeant. What difference did you make and how can policing benefit from ethnic diversity among the leaders?

 Yes, I worked for 22 years in the police service. I had decided some time ago that I would seek to retire at 25 years service. There are many people inside the service that will suggest that racism doesn't exist, that we have eradicated it, that people that complain are over sensitive, and even minority ethnic colleagues will be brought out to promote equality, but there is such a difference between "concept" and reality.

The truth is, the police service has on some occasions badly let itself down over race issues;  the riots of the 80's were one such issue, the Blair peach tragedy another, the murder of Stephen Lawrence; the sheer reluctance to accept the term "institutional racism" as a living and dynamic prejudice; the downing of the National Black Police Association movement, and sheer hatred displayed towards those that "dare" stand up; the Morris enquiry, the CRE report following the Secret Policemen, the Blair-Ghaffur love hate relationship; these are just some of the incidents that have marred racial equality inside policing.

So when people come out and say racism is not a problem either they have assimilated to the extent that they don't experience it, or they choose not to be involved, they close their eyes. Have I made a difference? I think I have been a thorn in the side of the powers to be. They do try and quieten the vociferous ones down, but I have written extensively about issues of race in British policing because I care. And primarily I have done so because police officers on the front line do not suffer the indignation of racial murders of colleagues, and also that they understand what fairness means to people that may be different to them. All of this to help policing. I don't know whether I have made a significant difference in 22 years but I have challenged decisions in terms of crime recording and investigation locally and perhaps I have had some national influence, but my writings I hope will be recorded as evidence of what was happening in this country.

Leaders don’t recognise, for example, that how you treat a Black Police Officer inside, can have an impact on your whole strategy of race equality in service delivery outside. They don’t understand that race is intrinsically linked to most things we do. And they think that each support group must be given the same level of resources. That is an absolute affront to equality. Each group must be given support based on needs. In training others and holding leaders to account I think I have made a difference. Racism is not the simple name calling, its opportunity, progression, barriers; things that make our day to day work difficult, unfair assessments; the fact that tokenistic colleagues are brought out to challenge you. It really borders on moral corruption against anti racism. In short, I chose to retire at my level of service to focus on faith and improve ethics in wider society.

Would I advise people to join the police – absolutely. I remain proud that I have served as a Sergeant in a British Force with some good colleagues and I have been fortunate to meet Chiefs like Chris Eyre who have a passion for  real change. There are just not many leaders like Chris Eyre. It’s just a pity some of his subordinates place barriers in the way of change. I have been fortunate that I have had support from my father, mother, brother and sister. But nationally I want to be clear - a lot of bad things have been said about the Metropolitan police; some of the things said are unfair and ill informed. Off duty I assisted Met colleagues once and they were extremely professional; when I have called for back up off duty they have turned up quickly. Let's therefore not blame everything on the biggest Force in this country. The Met is still a very reputable Force and front line colleagues genuinely care. They just have a difficult job to do. No one goes out to practise racism; therefore we should all have some admiration and respect for serving police officers in this country.


2.      Hindus have a plural philosophy and deep respect for all living beings – a borderless mind. Do you think British employers understand and recognise the strength of this?

 Absolutely not. A true Hindu, like a true Sikh, Christian or Muslim will fight for justice and the truth. British organisations cannot link the concept of lying, or being economical with the truth, or cover up with this Hindu philosophy. But how many people are prepared to stand up? Even our Hindu community has remained quiet generally through the race riots, through Macpherson, etc. Hinduism must stand up; otherwise the World becomes a dialogue of conflict between 2 faiths.

The world is bigger than Christianity and Islam. It's about time British employers begin to understand this. It really isn't wrong to want to wear a cross on a chain and it really isn't necessary to have faith rooms or prayer rooms everywhere in society. Minority communities must understand that they are both British and whatever faith they follow is permissible. If we are not careful silly policies may backfire and lead to hatred. When a Chief Constable really listens to their heart and adopts a Hindu stance on issues of race equality maybe then there will be change in policing for example. Maybe then they will understand race equality. Until then we have to be prepared to understand that the old leaders have handpicked the ones to follow. And when terrorism is a serious concern, we should not tolerate lies or misleading.

3.      Law and Justice have a strong ethical dimension. What is the role of faith in this?

 I am very much looking forward to Mr Cameron getting to the root causes of cohesion issues. I expect to see better chances for Black youth. Back in 9/11 Hindu victims were not officially given Hindu last rites. Why? Law, faith and morality go hand in hand but when we view our own faith as the only road to enlightenment then we practice discrimination.

 4.      What is the level of cultural intelligence among public sector leaders in Britain today?

Public sector leaders currently in this country tend to be mostly white middle or upper class. Compare and contrast this with the USA. Cultural intelligence is served by lip service. Britain has not currently uncovered the real underlying dislike in terms of ethnicity that is displayed in most public sector organisations. At a Hindu celebration of Diwali the local council used public monies to serve meat products. Hindus complained. The council used a Sikh Doctor to say the celebration wasn't a religious celebration, therefore it was acceptable. This was around 2001. The council still has these poor attitudes which deeply offend Hindu people. Those that could not eat meat, on the day didn’t eat anything. That’s how we treat Hindu people. The council refused to budge. Multi cultural events are all a showcase about the majority, some of the people come to these for the free food - their prejudices remain as intact as they were before they came. It's a joke, and waste of public money.

 Public sector organisations think this is how equality is delivered. How we treat people is how race equality is delivered. And consultation - Again the middle and upper classes consult with self professed middle class community leaders from the BME communities, using each other as a means to maintain the unequal status quo, and patting each other on the back in the hope of receiving MBE's, etc. The truth is these people from the BME community practice their own prejudices. It's embarrassing. Most public sector leaders think they have no prejudices - well if prejudices are learnt, and you come from the middle and upper classes, will you ever understand your privileged position and want to change things so the less privileged have a fair crack at the whip? That would be real leadership.

 5.     Where do you see race equality in this country over the next ten years?

Over the next 10 years my biggest fear is another set of race riots, ethnic gang conflict, gun and violent gang crimes and the fact that the most vulnerable peoples will fall victim again. Historically I have seen some older Asian people suffer racist attacks. My worry now is that youngsters in our community will see and fall foul of these horrendous crimes. I think if organisations do not deliver real equality and it affects service delivery youth will fight back. On a positive note I expect that the new Equalities Act may make a tremendous difference in relation to race/ethnicity and social deprivation. I will pursue my part in ensuring that nuances in ethnicity are addressed.

Article added on 26th May 2010 at 4:37pm
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