Chief Constable of Merseyside Police Serena Kennedy said: "I categorically do not believe that Merseyside Police is institutionally racist.
"The history and impact of racism across policing and the harm this has caused to communities and colleagues is clear. There has been a lot of work done nationally and locally to understand and address this. We know that policing, like society, is not free of racial discrimination, bias and disproportionality. It still exists in some policies and processes, and we are taking action to change this. We collectively want to improve, we want to progress, we want to be better. We are not institutionally racist.
"There has been a lot of work done to understand how we need to change, and progress has been made but we know we need to do more, and we are committed to this.
"The National Race Action Plan, developed by the College of Policing and the National Police Chiefs' Council, through a dedicated programme of work, will be published imminently, which sets out the vision that policing will be actively anti-racist and the work needed to achieve this.
"We will build on what we have already been doing in Merseyside to deliver this plan. Some of this includes the creation of an outreach team that works in the heart of our most diverse communities to build relationships and trust and working with our Merseyside Independent Advisory Group to capture the views and voices of our communities.
"I see every day how committed my officers and staff are to helping and protecting our communities and how they want to play an active part in ensuring we are anti-racist. We recognise that people across the organisation will have different views and experience and we will continue to encourage open debate and learning across the force so that we provide a policing service that is truly inclusive and anti-racist.
"When I became Chief Constable in April 2021, I identified Community Engagement and Inclusion as key priorities for the force.
"Over the last few months, I have been talking to officers and staff across the force and listening to their views on the proposed national Race Action Plan and I will be meeting with stakeholders and community representatives to discuss the detail of the plan as soon as it is published.
"We will continue to constantly review and assess the way we work, to actively listen to communities and colleagues, and to work together to continue delivering a police service in Merseyside that puts our communities first."