Design elements of the Metropolitan Police’s latest £160 000 drive to recruit more black and Asian officers have been met with a mixed response, following their release last week.
Created by Seed Design, the CD, video and poster feature the words Taking Care of Business above a picture of two rappers. The images are part of rap singer and record producer Charles Bailey’s aim to improve the force’s image.
“I wanted it to be like a blockbuster movie,” explains Bailey. “I want to get rid of the stigma of black people joining the force. It’s a catalyst for the police to look at what they are doing, and for black and Asian people to give respect to ethnic minority officers.”
Seed senior graphic designer Joe Vasu de Van says the force has “got a lot of good feedback” about the project. “The whole campaign is backed by the film. It should educate people and it points out that you can’t always blame the Met,” he says.
But the campaign has been branded “disgraceful” and “a joke” by National Black Alliance secretary Lee Jasper.
“I don’t approve of it. It’s a cheap and cynical exploitation of the black youth culture. The style and graphics of the poster will not sort out the racism in the Metropolitan Police force,” says Jasper.
“The message is that we’re not taking it seriously and it reinforces stereotypes. When the Metropolitan Police tries to get hip, we’re all in trouble.”
Home Secretary Jack Straw told the Met it must recruit an extra 5662 officers from ethnic minority backgrounds over ten years. This is to meet targets set after the Macpherson Report into Stephen Lawrence’s death.