The unpleasant face of racism is emerging once again this summer as Britain comes to terms with the fact that being British no longer implies being white. Last month marked the 50th anniversary of the first influx of immigrants from the Caribbean encouraged to come to Britain originally to solve a labour shortage. But, half a century on, the children and grandchildren of many of those immigrants are still struggling to find acceptance in the only country they have ever known. There are now about 750,000 black people in Britain whose families originally came from the Caribbean. Most of them reject the label 'West Indian' since they have only ever lived in Britain and prefer to describe themselves as British Afro-Caribbean. While outright racial conflict is largely a thing of the past, unequal treatment by the police has been highlighted over the past few weeks following the inquiry into the murder of an 18-year-old black youth. Stephen Lawrence was stabbed to death in an unprovoked racial attack while he waited at a bus stop in South London five years ago and, despite overwhelming evidence pointing to five white youths, police have failed to get a conviction. Over the past few weeks an inquiry into police handling of the incident has revealed a series of glaring errors in police procedure that suggest they are often slow to help members of the black community. None of those believed to have been involved in the killing have been tried by jury despite incriminating forensic and circumstantial evidence, including eyewitness identification. Stephen's parents were forced to take out a private prosecution in 1995 after the Crown Prosecution Service claimed there was insufficient evidence to bring the youths to trial. The Lawrence case was only the fourth private prosecution over an alleged murder in Britain in 130 years but when the trial was convened the judge, Justice Curtis, threw it out. Decreeing the evidence from one of the main eyewitnesses was 'contaminated and flawed'; Justice Curtis prevented the jury from hearing further damning evidence, including that of the discovery of the murder weapon. A jury at a Coroner's Court last year concluded Lawrence had been killed 'in a completely unprovoked racist attack by five white youths'. The following day a national newspaper sensationally headlined front-page photographs of the five prime suspects with the single word: 'Murderers' and challenged them to sue the paper. They did not. But what has shocked many in Britain in the past few days has been the revelation at the inquiry of the existence of a police surveillance video which showed the five white youths discussing how to mutilate black people and practising how to administer a fatal knife blow. There has been no public sympathy for the white youths and no-one would suggest they represent anything but a tiny minority. Parallels have been drawn between this case and the O J Simpson case in Los Angeles. Whereas the American football hero claimed police framed him because he was black and they were racist, the Lawrence family say it was because their son was black and the British police are racist that they failed to secure a conviction against his murderers. The police have denied racism was responsible for the failure of their investigation but have admitted that they 'could and should have done better'. Last month Ian Johnston, the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of the investigation, offered his 'deepest apologies' to the Lawrence family and admitted to the inquiry the police investigation had been flawed. Only three per cent of London's Metropolitan Police are from ethnic minorities despite incessant efforts to recruit particularly from the black community. Non-white officers who have joined the Met have complained of racism within the ranks. 'Overall all the key indicators suggest improvements in racial equality are being made,' a spokesman for the Government funded Commission for Racial Equality, said. 'But still we see the people who are more likely to be stopped and searched by the police are likely to be young black men, they are also more likely to get higher prison sentences. There are a disproportionate number of black people in prison,' he said. The ethnic Chinese community in Britain is estimated to number about 160,000 and very few cases of racial harassment or discrimination are reported by Chinese people. But the commission admits this is more likely to be because the Chinese have little confidence in the Government's ability to help them solve problems of this sort. 'In the 22 years since this organisation was set up you could probably count the number of complaints by Chinese people on the fingers of one hand. But that is not because they are not discriminated against but because they have no faith in the commission,' the spokesman admitted. In the past, many in Britain were resentful of the ethnic communities, suspicious that they were taking jobs and receiving unfair advantages from the Government. Perhaps one good thing that has emerged from the inquiry is an awareness by the white community that it is the black sector of society that is most vulnerable and has the most to fear.