The Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset Police has repeated the claim that his force is racist.

It comes after Avon and Somerset were branded racist by their own Chief Constable, Sarah Crew. She added the force was also likely misogynist, homophobic and prejudiced against the disabled. In a statement she said:

"When it comes to race, I’m in no doubt that, by Baroness Casey’s criteria at least, Avon and Somerset Police is institutionally racist.

"I think it’s likely to be true for misogyny, homophobia, and disability as well, though the gaps in the data don’t give us the sense of scale, impact, or certainty that we have for race."

Now Mr Shelford, who serves as a Conservative party official with responsibility for the police, repeated the claims and expressed his full backing for them. Ahead of a meeting with Ms Crew he said:

"I fully support the Chief Constable’s acknowledgement of Institutional Racism and continue to have full confidence in her leadership. 

“Now is a critical time in policing and criminal justice, and Institutional Racism is a challenging issue to face. I will be asking the Chief Constable how, after making this acknowledgement, she intends to improve the service for the public.

“The Performance and Accountability Board allows me to put questions and concerns on behalf of local people and is a chance for communities to better understand the decisions being made by Avon and Somerset Police. Please do tune in to listen to the Chief Constable’s response, not only to questions relating to Institutional Racism, but discussions around unauthorised or illegal encampments and protecting vulnerable people.”

The claims were rejected by MP Ian Liddell-Grainger, who said Ms Crew's comments threatened the reputation of the force. Mr Liddell-Grainger said: “Unless the Chief Constable can come up with specific instances of racism, then she is guilty of merely relying on a formula rather than the true facts.

“It is a very dangerous course to follow to call into question the integrity of a police force simply on the basis of a set of criteria drawn up in another arena completely.

“Unfortunately, any pronouncement from a chief constable carries some weight of authority so a lot of people are going to believe what she says and therefore the reputation of the force will be diminished in their eyes.

“If the Chief Constable says her own force is racist then the danger is this will impact on frontline officers’ dealings with the public.

“It could lead to heightened tensions in interactions with members of ethnic communities as well as more dissent, more resentment, and more confrontation from the less law-abiding sections of the population, and inevitably is going to make their job even more challenging.

“I do not know who suggested Ms Crew should subject her force to statistical scrutiny in this way but the picture that has emerged is very much at odds with the Avon and Somerset force I have been closely engaged with for more than two decades."

The full statement by Chief Constable Sarah Crew can be read at the Avon and Somerset Police website.

Mr Shelford's next meeting with the Chief Constable will be held on Tuesday, July 11, and will be broadcast live on Facebook.