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What is institutional racism and why is it controversial?

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In the interviews that followed publication of Baroness Casey of Blackstock's review of the standards of behaviour and internal culture of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Mark Rowley, the force's commissioner, steadfastly refused to accept the report's key finding: that the Met was "institutionally racist".

Two months later, Sir Iain Livingstone, Rowley's counterpart north of the border, took the opposite route declaring unequivocally that "Police Scotland is institutionally racist and discriminatory."

It was an extraordinary admission, not least, as the chief constable conceded, many of his officers struggle to understand what institutional racism means. Some commentators even deny the phenomenon exists.

• Police Scotland chief constable calls force institutionally racist

Like Livingstone, Casey, a crossbench peer, applied Lord Macpherson's 1999 definition of institutional racism. Macpherson described

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