§ Mr. McDonnell
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many complaints of racist behaviour were made by prisoners against prison officers in 1997, 1998 and 1999. 
§ Mr. Boateng
The number of alleged racist incidents recorded by establishments against staff on prisoners for the past three years are:
- 112 (1996–97)
- 92 (1997–98
- 218 (1998–99).
An incident may have been reported by the prisoner or by anyone else witnessing it.
All incidents which are alleged to have a racist element are required to be reported to the race relations liaison officer (RRLO) for recording and investigation. The majority of alleged racist incidents are resolved informally. Race relations and the role of the RRLO were given added prominence following the setting up of the Director General's Race Relations Group in July 1998 and further guidance on the definition of a racist incident has been issued since the publication of the Macpherson report in February 1999.