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6 February 2019, 09:18 | Updated: 6 February 2019, 10:52
Leicestershire Police has called for urgent talks with the President of the National Black Police Association after he told MPs the force is "institutionally racist".
Tola Munro told the Home Affairs Select Committee yesterday (Tuedsay 5 February) that he had seen and heard a number of instances that proved his claims.
He told MPs during a hearing into racism in policing that the force is currently dealing with "four or five" cases of racial discrimination, which he says is "unprecedented" for one force alone to have in the UK.
He also told the committee a tree planted at the force's headquarters in Enderby in 2018 to mark 25 years since the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in London was vandalised within the force grounds.
But the force has denied this, saying it was down to the extreme heat of last summer.
Tola Munro spoke for about conditions at the force for officers he represents.
.@leicspolice has denied @Tola_Munro's claims the force is 'institutionally racist'.— CapitalEastMids News (@CapitalEMNews) February 6, 2019
He's told MPs it has 5 race discrimination cases and a tree to commemorate Stephen Lawrence's murder at the Enderby HQ was damaged.
The force has asked to meet the @NBPAUK #CapitalReports pic.twitter.com/WnWAXRIP0v
Leicestershire Police has asked for talks with the NBPA, following the comments made in Westminster, saying they are "disappointed".
A police spokesperson said: "The Chief Constable met with the President of the National Black Police Association (NBPA) on Friday afternoon and a letter was handed to the Chief on the conclusion of the meeting. Although the letter highlighted issues of concern to the NBPA, at no point during the meeting, or in the letter that was left following the meeting, was there any suggestion that the NBPA took the view that the force was institutionally racist.
"In advance of the meeting last week, the Chief Constable contacted the President to clarify what he wished to discuss and offering to update on our recruiting efforts and use of positive action within the force. The response was 'thanks Simon, it's to catch up on our cabinet visit from 11 months ago on the work of the BSN (Black Support Network)'. There was no suggestion that this was a 'last chance saloon' meeting and we are surprised to hear it described as such.
"The force has sought an urgent meeting with the NBPA to discuss these apparent concerns further in a productive manner to take this forward.
"The force is very proud to have been joined by Dr Neville Lawrence for the planting of a memorial tree, commemorating the tragic death of Stephen Lawrence. The suggestion that this tree was vandalised was thoroughly investigated and concluded that the extreme heat of the summer was the most likely cause of the damage.
"The tree has been replaced."