Anti-racism group condemns Crimestoppers poster

A NEW Crimestoppers poster portraying a black drug dealer handcuffed and lying on the ground has been condemned by anti-racism campaigners.

A poster promoting the work of charity Crimestoppers has been condemned by anti-racism campaigners

• A poster depicting a black drug dealer has been condemned by anti-racism campaigners

• Crimestoppers poster seen in Glasgow is part of UK-wide campaign to highlight charity’s work

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• Critics say black people in Scotland are more likely to be the victims of crime than perpetrators

The poster is being put up around Glasgow and shows a black man in tattoos grimacing as he lies pinned to the ground by a mobile phone, which represents the people who contacted Crimestoppers to help prevent crime, in what appears to be a multi-storey car park.

A knife and two bags of white powder, one of which has spilled onto the ground, lie beside the booted figure and the word “Drugstoppers” is emblazoned above him along with “£293 million of drugs seized, thanks to your calls”.

The poster aims to highlight the role that the charity, which allows people to report crime anonymously, has played in stopping 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 went against 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 per cent of the population, with 5,700 people describing themselves of African or Caribbean descent.

Last year 574 racist crimes against black people were recorded in Scotland, 9 per cent 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 2,000 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 1,000 calls it receives daily.

The image is one of 11 different crime types used across the country that depict a number of offences.

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 perpetrator and victims of such will again be different from one town or city to another.

“Should any of the poster cause offence, Crimestoppers would like to extend an apology and would be happy to discuss a 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 five years.”