Police chiefs face an explosive row over racism in the ranks after the BBC secretly filmed a trainee constable dressed up in a Ku Klux Klan-style hood inside a police college.
The probationary officer was caught on camera mimicking members of the US white supremacist cult as he made inflammatory remarks about an Asian colleague at a training college in Cheshire.
In the documentary titled The Secret Policeman, to be broadcast on BBC1 on Tuesday night, allegations of racism are made against police recruits in at least three separate forces, including Greater Manchester Police.
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The programme was secretly filmed at the Bruche Police Training College near Warrington, where recruits from around the north west are put through a 15-week course in basic police practice before they join their respective forces.
The most striking evidence is footage of a recruit from Wales with his head covered in a white hood, with eye holes cut out in the style of a Ku Klux Klan uniform.
He is filmed lunging towards the hidden camera and fantasising about attacking the sole Asian recruit on the course.
The trainee constable, who is now an officer with the North Wales Police force and cannot be named for legal reasons, is recorded saying: “I haven’t even f***ing started with him yet. He’ll regret the day he was ever born a P***.”
In another sequence filmed in the Bruche college bar, another white recruit says of the same
Asian colleague: “I’d kill him. I’d pull my ****ing hood on my head and chase him down the road.”
The documentary will re-ignite the controversy over racist attitudes among rank-and-file officers in Britain’s police forces.
It will also be a major setback to efforts to attract more recruits from ethnic minorities, one of the key recommendations of the MacPherson inquiry into the murder of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence.
The BBC is understood to have spent more than £250,000 of licence fee payers’ money on the documentary, which is the conclusion of a nine-month investigation into allegations of racism among officers with GMP.
Undercover journalist Mark Daly, 28, was arrested by GMP in August after police found he had posed as a recruit to infiltrate the force.
He had completed his training and started work as an £18,000-a-year probationary constable at Hazel Grove, in Stockport.
Mr Daly was released on police bail and will discover next month if he faces charges of obtaining his wages by deception and damaging property by inserting a secret camera in his police issue bullet-proof jacket.
Chief Constable Michael Todd was incensed by the subterfuge employed by the BBC.
He said at the time: “We deplore this tactic, which would appear to be an outrageous waste of public funds used to train, equip and pay this individual.”
The M.E.N. understands Mr Todd had a private meeting with director-general Greg Dyke in London earlier this week, where he voiced concerns about how the programme was made. In particular, GMP has complained the programme-makers breached the BBC’s own guidelines in making it.
BBC executives claim it was prompted by remarks by GMP’s former chief constable David Wilmot in 2000 that the force was guilty of “institutionalised racism”.
A spokesman for North Wales Police said: “We haven’t seen the programme and we can’t comment on anything we haven’t seen.”
Centrex, which runs the Bruche training centre, said in a statement today: “Centrex expects the highest possible professional standards of its staff and is adamant that racism is unacceptable.
“The BBC investigative reporter Mark Daly spent seven months as a Pc with Greater Manchester Police. During this period he spent 15 weeks at the Police Training Centre at Bruche. The management team at Bruche received no formal complaints from Mr Daly during this period.
“We are concerned about the approach adopted by the BBC in gathering material for the programme The Secret Policeman. However, we await the programme’s broadcast on Tuesday in order to make a full response, as we have been unable to obtain sufficient information from the BBC to comment further at this stage.”