13/05/2012 03:56 BST

Sir Hugh Orde: No 'Endemic' Racism In The Police

One of the UK's most senior policemen has denied the force is inherently racist.

Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) told the Huffington Post UK that "It's something you can never take your eye off" but that he believed "confidence in the police is rising".

Several UK forces, most notably the Metropolitan Police, have recently come under pressure over racism. The Met currently has seven officers facing charges for gross professional misconduct in relation to incidents of alleged racism.

But Orde rejected the accusation of a wider problem with racism in the police, arguing the "power of the media" had distorted the picture.

"Is this an endemically racist police service - no it isn't. Will you get individuals who behave way outside the bounds of respectability, yes you will," he said.

"You have to do deal with it very robustly, very quickly and very effectively, and my sense is that is what the Met commissioner is doing. … I don't think there is endemic or institutional racism in policing."

He added that the police were not institutionally corrupt.

"The best indicator of corrupt cops for me - do we prosecute police officers for speeding? All the time. You ask cops in other countries if they'd prosecute another cop for speeding they'd look at you in abject horror.

Orde also addressed the legacy of the 2011 riots, but said that forces would have to think very carefully before deploying so-called 'plastic bullets' - which Orde himself deployed when head of the police in Northern Ireland.

"The British model of policing is minimum use of force, minimum infringement on the rights of the citizen and routinely unarmed service," he said.

"The role of the police is to use what is appropriate. If any of the police had killed someone with a baton round that's a legacy that will last three or four generations."