Figures published today by the Ministry of Justice have revealed that the police continue to discriminate against ethnic minority Father Christmases, with Santas of colour almost 12 times more likely to be stopped and searched than their jolly white counterparts.
‘These figures show we have more to do to promote racial equality among our officers and challenge the stereotype of black Santas being disguised criminals or drunks on their way to a party,’ said Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson today. ‘However, I make no apologies for our use of seasonal stop and search powers in the fight against commercialisation, and I’d like to reassure all the communities that we serve that this police force remains institutionally festive to its core.’
The police claim that their increased use of stop and search powers in recent weeks simply follows a rise in reports from the public of unlicensed yuletide activity by ethnic minority Santas.
‘They’re either loitering by the entrance to the shopping centre in their hoodies,’ said concerned mum-of-two, Tara Thornton, ‘or preying on youngsters by trying to lure them into their ‘grotto’. I don’t know what the word means, but I’ve heard about what happens when kids accidentally wander into another gang’s territory, so there was no way I was taking any chances with Cleo and Marcus.’
‘Plus they’re always giving it the old ‘Ho, ho, ho!’,’ she continued, ‘but I’d really rather the children weren’t exposed to that kind of denigration of women. And don’t these people realise the sort of awkward questions seeing a black Santa can generate from white children?’
But for the black men involved in the seasonal Santa trade, the blame is placed squarely with the police. ‘Every year I go about my lawful yuletide business and the pigs pull over my car or stop me in the street and ask me to help them with their enquiries,’ complained old-hand Marlon Collins. ‘Help them with their enquiries? What do they think I am – omniscient? Once they even nicked me on suspicion of possessing gifts with intent to supply, but they dropped the charges after I threatened to put their kids on the real Santa’s naughty list.’
However, the police remain defiant that stopping and searching Santas is necessary to disrupt organised criminal activity. ‘Just think about it,’ said Commissioner Stephenson. ‘Brown-skinned men with big beards and bulky sacks over their shoulders. Would you feel comfortable sitting next to one of them on the tube? This is a very real threat and it is our job to protect the public. Only this morning we destroyed an active grotto in a controlled explosion after finding dozens of suspicious packages under a tree.’