Institutions are the bedrock of our society and they echo our biases. In a time of political, economic and social division we must ensure that they can check them tooAs horrifying as the murder of Bijan Ebrahimi after seven years of torment by neighbours is the shocking failure of the police to protect him, laid out in an Independent Police Complaints Commission report published on Wednesday. Mr Ebrahimi, a disabled Iranian refugee, called Avon and Somerset police 85 times as the racially motivated hate campaign intensified. Yet officers treated him as a liar, a nuisance and an attention seeker, and arrested him rather than his persecutors. Had they done their duty, he might well be alive today. Important questions remain about the role of other authorities.The IPCC suggests that there may have been racial bias on the part of police. Mr Ebrahimi’s family do not hesitate: “The very institutions whose duty it was to protect him are infected with the same racism” as his tormentors, says their solicitor. Eighteen years after the Macpherson report into Stephen Lawrence’s death, which led to dramatic changes in the handling of racial incidents and hate crimes more broadly, systemic problems persist. The Home Office says that hate crime victims are more likely to suffer repeat victimisation and serious psychological impacts – and less likely to be satisfied with the police response. A review of the police handling of such offences is due this summer. Continue reading…

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The Guardian