BBC police racism probe backfires as reporter arrested

The chief constable of Greater Manchester Police has written to BBC director general Greg Dyke following the arrest and bail of a journalist who infiltrated the force in a bid to get material for a forthcoming BBC documentary about institutional racism.

Neither the BBC nor the police have named the journalist involved, but former Scotsman reporter Mark Daly revealed himself in an interview with his old paper.

Daly told The Scotsman he believed the methods to gather evidence will be justified. He said: “In so far as the investigation is concerned, we believe we are on very solid ground. The subject matter is hugely important and I think the BBC is fully justified in sanctioning such a project.

“I know I have the full backing of the BBC and that it is going to throw all its weight behind me. I believe very strongly that we have done the right thing.” Daly was a month into being a probationary constable at the Stockport division, after training for eight months, when he was arrested. “He is being interviewed in connection with an allegation of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception,” said a police spokesman.

Chief constable Michael Todd said: “If true, we deplore this tactic, which would appear to be an outrageous waste of public funds used to train, equip and pay this individual.”

A BBC spokeswoman said: “We believe this to be a matter of significant public interest. We believed the only way to test the allegations was by a BBC journalist going undercover to be part of the recruitment process, see what happens when a recruit joins the force, is instructed at the training school, and is then placed on the force.”

By Wale Azeez

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