HUMZA Yousaf has said he felt “emotional” as the outgoing chief constable of Police Scotland admitted the force was “institutionally racist”.

On Thursday morning, Sir Iain Livingstone told a meeting of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) that it is important to “acknowledge the issues within the force”.

His comments came part way through a public inquiry into the death of Sheku Bayoh, a black man who died after being taken into police custody in 2015.

Yousaf hailed the “historic” admission during FMQs, and later told journalists that he felt it was a “vindication” of what people of colour had been saying about the police force for a long time.

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Yousaf told how he had challenged “racism in the police force” himself when he was younger, after being stopped and searched several times by officers from Strathclyde Police, one of several regional forces that existed in Scotland before the national body was created.

Speaking during FMQs at Holyrood, he said: “There is no doubt that institutional racism exists in our society, and I want to take a moment just to say as a person of colour the statement from the chief constable is monumental, historic.

“I remember raising issues around racism in the police force, Strathclyde Police as it was back then, when I was stopped and searched over a dozen times as a young boy, whether it was in my car, walking with my friends in the streets, in airports.

“So the acknowledgement from the chief constable is very welcome indeed.”

Yousaf stressed Livingstone’s comments are not an “inference on individual police officers, who we know put themselves in harm’s way to protect us day in and day out”.

Speaking after FMQs, the FM told reporters: “I felt quite emotional, I have to say, listening to the chief constable as he was making his statement today.

“I can think of well over a dozen times where I was stopped and searched as a young teenager walking the streets with my friends, never doing anything wrong.”

He said he had also been stopped in airports, as well as while driving a car at night.

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“For people of colour who have at times raised these issues around racial profiling or racism within the police, this is a moment of vindication for them,” he added.

“I’m not the only person to raise these issues, many people of colour in Scotland have raised these issues over many years.

“What’s important is not just the acknowledgement and we all have to reflect on our own institutions in that regard, it's about the action that Police Scotland now takes.”

Earlier, Yousaf had told MSPs that acknowledging institutional racism and misogyny within the force is the “first step that is required in order to then dismantle those institutional and structural barriers that exist”.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross, whose wife is a serving police officer, called for urgent action to “overhaul how Police Scotland handles legitimate complaints from within the force”.

Claiming the current system is “not fit for purpose”, Ross said: “Nobody should feel fear when raising concerns. That’s clearly unacceptable.

“Officers should be able to raise legitimate issues without suffering any consequences.”

Yousaf pledged to look at the issue, as he highlighted the importance of culture within the police force, saying “that is why the chief constable’s statement was so monumental, because it is demonstrating from the very, very top of the organisation that culture simply is not acceptable”.

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Ross went on to raise the issue of police budgets, saying the trade union Unison has complained about a £74 million shortfall as he voiced concerns that officers are “being asked to do too much with too little”.

He said: “None of that excuses discrimination, but it is a serious problem limiting Police Scotland’s ability to change its culture and leaving first-class officers without the resources they need to do their job.”

Yousaf agreed that “funding can never be an excuse for institutional racism, institutional misogyny”.

He added: “In terms of the funding we provide for Police Scotland, despite UK Government austerity over the years, we have increased police funding year-on-year since 2016.

“We have invested more than £11.6 billion in policing since the creation of Police Scotland in 2013.”