After their advisor said they needed to, police chiefs debate whether or not to acknowledge that their force is institutionally racist.

Talks with the top brass were held on Thursday to discuss options and prepare for a decision in February.

Fears that the move unfairly stigmatizes them all as racists caused the division of 43 branches across England and Wales.

Barrister Abimbola Johnson, who the National Police Chiefs’ Council brought in as chairman of an independent review, ramped up the pressure on forces last week.

They had to admit that they are racist institutions before they could bring about reforms that would be acceptable by ethnic minorities.

Leaders were weighing up the options during talks with top brass on Thursday ahead of a decision around February (file photo)

Talks with senior brass were held on Thursday to discuss the various options, in preparation for a February decision (file photo).

After the Black Lives Matter movement, the police were criticized for how they handled race relations.

Leaders from ethnic minorities slam forces for targeted searches and recruitment by police.

Earlier this year MPs found there were unjustified racial disparities in these more than two decades after the landmark Macpherson report into Stephen Lawrence’s death.

According to sources, top brass wanted an agreement during Thursday’s talks. However, some people were concerned.

One told the Guardian: ‘Some are worried about sending out a message that nothing has changed since Macpherson.’

One added, “There are polarized views.” Discussions were thoughtfully reflected upon.

Barrister Abimbola Johnson (pictured), who the National Police Chiefs' Council brought in as chairman of an independent review, ramped up the pressure on forces last week

Barrister Abimbola (pictured), who was appointed chairman of an independent review by the National Police Chiefs Council, increased the pressure on the forces last week

Ms Johnson was called in to examine a number of police reforms that would make them more ‘antiracist.

Her assertion was that officers must admit they are institutionally racist in order for them to be able to work with BAME communities.

She added: “The plan should accept institutional racism, in order to be anti-racist.

“If you want to earn the trust and support of black communities, then policing must begin by acknowledging the current and historical manifestations racism within policing.”

She said, “Reluctances to admit institutional racism stem from putting the emphasis on the discomfort of the wrong people rather than the experiences of black people.

“This program must have uncomfortable conversations for the police in order to function.”

After Lawrence’s death, the Macpherson 1999 report officially branded UK police institutions as racist.

Sir William Macpherson defined institutional racism as: “The failure collectively of an organization to provide an adequate and professional service for people due to their colour, culture, or ethnic origin.”

“It is evident in the processes, attitudes, and behavior that amount to discrimination by unwitting prejudices, ignorance and thoughtlessness which adversely affect minority ethnic people.”

Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick last year slapped down claims it was still a problem, saying it was ‘not a label I find helpful’.

She stated, “I don’t believe we are collectively failing.” It’s not something I believe in. [racism]It is a huge systemic problem. I don’t believe it has been institutionalized. But, more importantly, I think that we have made such great strides.

Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick (pictured) last year slapped down claims it was still a problem, saying it was 'not a label I find helpful'

Cressida Dick, Commissioner of Met Police (pictured), denied that the problem was not solved. She stated it was “not a label that I find useful”.

However, the heads of both local forces in England and Wales have a split. Some are refusing to admit that there is a problem.

These people fear that the word will be used to label them as racists, and believe this is unfair considering the vast improvements since Lawrence.

In June, MPs discovered racial disparities within policing.

The Home Affairs Committee urged for urgent action to remedy ‘persistent deep-rooted and unjustified disparities in policing’.

They claimed that the Government and police failed to adequately address race equality in policing over many decades.

MPs were also clear that, based on the rate at which progress is occurring now, they will no longer have adequately representative police forces throughout England and Wales for 20 more years.