Passing out: Mark Daly, surrounded by colleagues during his training
e producer of the BBC investigation into police racism that came under fire for its methods has said he feels vindicated by the public response to the programme.
Home Secretary David Blunkett accused the BBC of intending to create and not report stories, and dismissed The Secret Policeman as a “covert stunt” before it was broadcast.
But politicians, race campaigners and senior police figures were united in expressing their shock at the programme’s findings, which has resulted in the resignation of an officer and the suspension of seven others pending investigation by the independent Police Complaints Authority.
“It was quite obvious from the programme it wasn’t a stunt and I’m sure David Blunkett now wishes that he waited to see the results of the programme,” said producer Simon Ford, who was called to defend the investigative methods used by reporter Mark Daly.
“The Home Office said, since it was shown, that they think this is a really important subject and they want action taken, so I don’t understand why he made that comment.
“This is actual real racism, officers being racist and saying they are going to put their racism into practice. I did think it was going to have a huge impact and I’m really pleased that the authorities have moved so quickly to suspend these police officers.”
Undercover reporter Daly joined Greater Manchester Police as a trainee and secretly filmed recruits before working as a probationary constable in Cheadle Hume.
Ford said he thought only the BBC could have pulled off such a difficult operation. “I genuinely think it’s only in the BBC that journalism on this scale can be done – where there was so much care and attention put to such a bold and risky subject.”
The former Scotsman journalist’s footage shows the officer who resigned, PC Rob Pulling, using a pillow cover as a Ku Klux Klan hood, and confessing that he had it in him to “murder a fucking Paki bastard”. The same officer is also heard to say that he thought murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence deserved to die.
Daly was discovered after an anonymous tip-off, and arrested on suspicion of gaining his salary by deception and damaging police property, after concealing a pinhole camera in his bulletproof vest. He is due to answer bail next month, despite calls from the Black Police Association that no charges should be brought.
Ford said the BBC would be handing over film evidence to the police that wasn’t in the programme.
By Sarah Boden