Understanding a newspaper article

The police have come in for a lot of criticism in Britain. This newspaper article might suggest why. (You should know that a policeman’s beat is the route he patrols, and that an extremely slow walk is called a plod.)

 

'Stupid Cop' Searches Leading Black Bishop

by Richard Reeves

 
An internationally respected black bishop who survived the Idi Amin regime has been “stopped and searched” by London police, provoking outrage from the Church of England.
          In an incident that adds to the controversy over the racial bias in stop and searches, the Bishop of Stepney, John Sentamu, was halted near Tower Bridge last week.
          “He was a stupid cop,” said a spokesman for the Archbishop of Canterbury. “Here is a man who has been a High Court judge, who escaped Amin, and is one of the leading lights of the Anglican communion, and PC Plod pulls him over.”
Copyright: Getty Images
          Sentamu was asked to stop near Tower Bridge late at night earlier this week and asked where he was going. The 52-year-old told the beat officer he was going home, and was asked to get out of his car. “He ordered me to open the boot,” the bishop said. “I knew when he started talking that he didn’t have the right to make me open the boot without reasonable ground for suspicion.”
          The clergyman, a trained lawyer, then asked the police officer for a written reason for the stop and search. “I started to argue and he [the officer] became a bit ratty,” he said. “He said, “If you co-operate you’ll be all right.”
          At that point the officer in question asked who he was. “I am the Bishop of Stepney. He then said “Whoops” and was very polite after that.”
          A spokesman for the police said last night that no record of the incident had been made, but said the officers on duty would be questioned. If a search does not take place, there is no legal requirement for the incident to be recorded.
          The incident will add to suspicions that the Metropolitan Police is struggling to rid itself of racist attitudes and practices, despite promises made in the wake of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry which found the force to be “institutionally racist”.
          Black men in London are at least 10 times as likely as whites to be stopped and searched – although officers are only allowed to search vehicles under anti-drug legislation if they have “reasonable suspicion” that a crime may be underway.
          “What had annoyed me was the lack of reasonable grounds to suspect me of anything,” Sentamu said. “Middle-aged bishops are rarely a threat to the public.”
          It is not the first time that Sentamu has had trouble with the police, having been stopped eight times in total.
 
(The Observer 23 January 2000)


Activities

Focus on the text

Two people are discussing this incident. You can read what one of them said. Your task is to say what the other person said in reply. An example is given.

No one has ever heard of this bishop!

You’re wrong. He is well known in several countries and has been a judge.

a)       The bishop was behaving suspiciously!

b)      The police officer was completely reasonable!

c)       The police officer behaved brutally!

d)      The bishop was hiding something in his boot!

e)       The bishop got very angry!

f)       This was an isolated incident!

g)      The police are going to forget the whole thing!

h)      White bishops are often stopped by the London police!