Police Race Action Plan published
We've developed a new Police Race Action Plan with the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC), to address the significantly lower levels of trust and confidence among some Black people and the race disparities affecting Black people that policing cannot currently fully explain.
This will be achieved by:
- introducing mandatory training for all police officers and staff about racism, anti-racism, Black history and its connection to policing
- adopting a new explain or reform approach to race disparities and developing a new approach to tackle those issues in the use of police powers – such as traffic stops, stop and search, use of Taser and other types of force – supported by strengthened governance through effective supervision, community scrutiny of police data and body-worn video
- reviewing misconduct and disciplinary processes to reduce racial disparities
- better enabling Black people to have their voices heard, by asking for input from local communities and Black police officers and staff
- addressing the criminal exploitation of vulnerable young Black men
- ensuring a good police response to missing persons from Black communities
- introducing a national standard across all recruitment and promotion processes
The plan was developed jointly by the College of Policing and the NPCC, working in collaboration with Black communities and partners – including the National Black Policing Association (NBPA). It has the commitment of all 43 chief constables in England and Wales.
A survey launching today enables anyone with expertise or an interest in the plan to share their views and shape the final plan.
The action plan is our response to events in the UK that have highlighted longstanding issues of racial inequality within policing. For example, we know that:
- Black people have significantly lower than average rates of confidence in their police force (64 percent compared with an average of 74 percent)
- some policing powers, such as stop and search and use of force, are disproportionately applied to Black people – the latest national data shows that Black people are almost nine times more likely to be stopped and searched than White people and the rate at which we used force was five times higher for people we perceived to be Black
- policing lags behind almost every part of the public service as an employer of choice for Black people – just 1.3% of police officers are Black compared to 3.5% of the wider population, and in policing's history, only two Black officers have reached the rank of chief constable or assistant commissioner
- the relationship between policing and Black communities has been damaged. The overt racism many of the Windrush generation experienced included policing. The Scarman report, following the 1981 riots across England’s major cities, identified the harmful impact of policing on Black Britain. Stephen Lawrence’s murder in London in 1993 and the 1998 Stephen Lawrence Inquiry by Sir William Macpherson were watershed moments in facing up to racism in policing. The IOPC Operation Hotton report shows the reality that racism still exists in policing
Much has been done by policing to address racism in the police and society. Policing is more inclusive, more diverse, and more reflective of our communities than we have ever been but equally it still contains racism, discrimination, and bias.
Clearly policing is not unique in this – racism and conscious or unconscious bias is a society-wide problem – but given our powers and essential role in society the standard for policing must be higher.
Saying that racism, discrimination, and bias still exist in policing – in behaviour but also in policies and practices that have a negative disproportionate impact on Black people – is not the same as characterising policing or all its officers and staff as racist.
The majority of police officers and staff would assert they would not consciously tolerate racism. Racism is prohibited and repudiated in the rules and codes of practice that underpin policing. We need to go further and build an actively anti-racist police service that reflects and protects all communities.
It’s important to say disparities are not necessarily a sign of discrimination and there may be a range of factors behind a disparity. But we do need to understand the causes, explain them and reform them where there is not a justifiable reason for the disparity.
Chief Constable Sir Dave Thompson, Senior Responsible Officer for the Police Race Action Plan
There is a moral and operational imperative to undertake this work. Racism or discrimination of any kind is deplorable, completely unacceptable and should have no place in society and no place in policing.
This work is central to our crime-fighting mission. The British principle of policing by consent is built on trust and confidence of the public in the police. With that trust comes cooperation, dialogue and crucial sharing of information that is essential for us to tackle crime. That trust is far too low among Black people, and we are less effective because of it. That is no longer sustainable.
Building trust with Black people will mean better policing for all.
Being anti-racist means it isn’t enough for an individual or organisation to not be racist. It means a commitment to taking action to challenge racial bias and prejudice where it is seen in practice, people, and policies.
Chief Constable Andy Marsh QPM, College of Policing CEO