Police need all the help they can get

I HAVE some sympathy with Edward Thomas (Gazette, December 21) who clearly objects to the culture of political correctness which has become a major feature of life in the early part of the 21st century.

Political correctness must never become an end in itself as I believe has been the case sometimes in recent years. I do, however, believe his criticism of Sussex Police in relation to the recent questionnaire concerning minority communities ignores certain important issues that have arisen in recent years and which highlight the need for the police to be able to serve the whole community in a manner that recognises that factors such as age, gender, race and sexual orientation do impact on people’s experience of life and on their interaction with public bodies including the police.

The inadequate police initial response following the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence is but one example of a police failure which helped fester a sense of grievance held by sections of the Afro Caribbean community and led to accusations of institutional racism against the Metropolitan Police.

A more recent example of a minority within the population being inadequately protected occurred when a woman living in the Midlands killed herself and her disabled daughter after receiving an inadequate response from the police to the frequent taunting her daughter was experiencing from local youths.

There have been many instances where people have been viciously attacked and sometimes killed on account of their sexual orientation.

Although the issue of homophobic chanting at football matches comes lower down the scale of ‘hate crime’ it is extremely unpleasant and intimidating as I am sure Mr Thomas will agree.

Thankfully the police have recently taken action in such cases and I believe the change in our culture which has made such behaviour unacceptable has to be credited in bringing this about.

I have not seen the questionnaire to which Mr Thomas so vehemently objects but believe responses to it provide useful information which should enable the police to overcome some of the problems of the past and hopefully to have the support of all sections of the community they are called upon to serve.

JOHN CARMODY

Royal Parade