A CONTROVERSIAL report into racism in Peterborough was today widely condemned by city leaders.
A CONTROVERSIAL report into racism in Peterborough was today widely condemned by city leaders.A CONTROVERSIAL report into racism in Peterborough was today widely condemned by city leaders.
The confidential document, which has been leaked to The Evening Telegraph, was commissioned by the Government's East of England office, GO East.
University of Hertfordshire lecturer Dr Roger Green spent 30 days in Peterborough earlier this year, speaking to members of the public, police and community groups.
His report accuses the city council of having "put race issues to one side" and of being "blind" to the problem.
He quotes one anonymous interviewee as claiming that race relations were stuck "in the 1950s".
Although he said that there were generally good relations between different communities, he quotes another unknown source as saying the city is racially "segregated".
He also makes the claim that The Evening Telegraph has a "history of insensitive reporting" and was "possibly adding to any climate of racial and communal unrest" with our coverage of the Ross Parker killing.
Today, council leader Neville Sanders said he was outraged.
He said: "If published in full, this document would put back racial harmony in this city by 100 years.
"I can't understand what inspired such a biased review. Much of the document is inaccurate. And I don't even think the criticism levelled at The Evening Telegraph in this particular case is fair."
Leader of the opposition Labour group, Cllr Anthea Cox backed his comments and said: "I think Dr Green could have gone through a more comprehensive process in collecting his information.
"The report is generally accurate in what it says, but does fail to paint the whole picture."
Kevin Booth, editor of The Evening Telegraph, said: "I completely reject the allegation of insensitive reporting. In fact, we have received widespread praise for our objective and fair coverage of sensitive issues."
But Harmesh Lakhanpaul, director of Peterborough Racial Equality Council, said the report could still be useful.
He said: "Dr Green's report is only an overview or snapshot of views and current work in Peterborough.
"However, despite its limitations, this work gives us an opportunity to develop a process of active consultation."
"There are emerging issues which threaten community cohesion, such as the segregation of asylum seekers and refugees, racial attacks and the clear lack of a co-ordinated approach to integration.
"We ignore these key issues at our peril."
The report was produced in the wake of last summer's race riots in places such as Bradford and Oldham.
>> - the Government's East of England office who commissioned the report.