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Anti-racism activists hit out at Crimestoppers campaign

ANTI-RACISM campaigners have criticised a new poster from Crimestoppers which shows a black drug dealer lying handcuffed on the ground.

UNDER FIRE: The controversial poster which shows a black drug dealer pinned to the ground by a telephone has been put on display at various different sites across Scotland's biggest city.
UNDER FIRE: The controversial poster which shows a black drug dealer pinned to the ground by a telephone has been put on display at various different sites across Scotland's biggest city.

Posters bearing the image have been put up around Glasgow to highlight the role the charity, which allows people to report crime anonymously, has played in stopping crime.

The man in the picture, and in others which highlight different crimes, is pinned to the ground by a piece of communications equipment to represent the people who called or emailed Crimestoppers to help prevent crime.

However, Graham Campbell, vice-chairman of the African and Caribbean Network in the city, said picking a black man to depict a drug dealer was hugely insensitive and flew in the face of efforts to create racial equality.

He said black people in Scotland were far more likely to be the victims of crime than to commit crimes.

According to the last census in 2011, black people made up just 0.1% of the population, with 5700 people describing themselves of African of Caribbean descent.

Last year 574 racist crimes against black people were recorded in Scotland, 9% of the total and more than those where the victim was Chinese or Irish.

Speaking after one billboard was placed in Garscube Road, in the Maryhill area, Mr Campbell said: "This is not an image I would want to see associated with black people in Glasgow.

"These type of billboards were a problem when I was growing up in London back in the 1980s and we've moved on since then.

"But we rarely see black people represented at all, so it's hugely disappointing that when we do they are portrayed negatively."

The African and Caribbean Network, based at a centre in Glasgow's Trongate, is a coalition of around 30 groups which represents around 2000 people.

Mr Campbell said Crimestoppers appeared to have failed to carry out a race equality strategy which would have led them to use more sensitive images.

He added: "This billboard sends out completely the wrong message about who are the perpetrators of crime and who are the victims. Black people are statistically more likely to be victims of crime.

"I'm also concerned that this billboard has been placed in Maryhill Road, where a lot of the black community live. The implication is being given that to people that they should mistrust their neighbour."

A Crimestoppers spokeswoman said the campaign was in place to thank the public for providing information on a range of different crimes, including drugs, which represents a high number of the 1000 calls it receives daily. The image is one of 11 different crime types used across the country that depict a number of serious offences and are represented by a broad cross section of society.

She added: "The charity aims to unite communities in doing so and provides a platform for people to do something positive in making their town or city a safer place to live irrespective of gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation or beliefs. We are a non-judgmental charity here to help and support communities.

"This is a national campaign and as such the posters created will be placed across the UK. A number of the crimes we deal with may be more prevalent in one area than another and the perpetrators and victims of such will again be different from one town or city to another.

"Should any of the posters cause offence, Crimestoppers would like to extend an apology and would be happy to discuss an alternative way in which we can promote the work done by the charity and also to thank the people of Glasgow and elsewhere for their support over the last 25 years."

Contextual targeting label: 
Burglary

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