Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon apologises for calling police 'racist'

Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon.
Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon. Photo credit: Getty, The AM Show

Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon has apologised for calling the police "racist" in response to concerns over the reality television show Police Ten 7.

Auckland councillor Efeso Collins recently condemned the show due to its portrayal of "young brown people", saying it was "high time" it was "spat out of the New Zealand TV vernacular".

Foon appeared on Newstalk ZB on Monday where he agreed the show should be scrapped, because: "The police are racist".

He said the show did "target more brown people than white people so, therefore, it is racist".

The comments were slammed by New Zealand Police Association's president Chris Cahill who said they were "nothing less than a body blow" to officers from diverse backgrounds and should be retracted.

"It seems Mr Foon, now on record with a sweeping claim about police being racist, has excluded himself from bringing the skills and knowledge of his position to any future work police may want to do on an issue it is committed to addressing," Cahill said.

In an interview with the NZ Herald on Thursday, Foon apologised.

"I do admit that my comments regarding the Police being racist was incorrect," he said.

Foon said he "shouldn't stereotype" and the blanket statement was inappropriate, however, he maintains there is racism within the police force.

"They do have systemic racism in the place – that has been admitted by the Commissioner".