Police leaders to commit to being ‘institutionally anti-racist’

The report is due to be published next week.

21 May 2022

Police leaders are set to apologise and say they are “ashamed” of alleged “discrimination and bias” within their ranks in a new report.

A plan from the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) and College of Policing, due to be published next week, will commit to being “institutionally anti-racist”.

The NPCC represents British police chief officers and the College of Policing is responsible for setting standards of ethics and training for the police service.

According to The Guardian, the report will state: “We accept that policing still contains racism, discrimination and bias.

“We are ashamed of those truths, we apologise for them and we are determined to change them.”

Stephen Lawrence murder
Stephen Lawrence’s murder sparked the landmark Macpherson inquiry (Family handout/PA)

It will also outline plans to tackle treatment which black people find “stigmatising and humiliating”.

The catalyst for the report was global protests sparked by the murder of unarmed black man George Floyd, who was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis, US, on May 25, 2020.

It also comes after the landmark Macpherson inquiry, which followed black teenager Stephen Lawrence’s unprovoked murder in 1993.

The Macpherson inquiry published a report in February 1999 which accused the Met Police and policing in general of “institutional racism”.

The blueprint will add: “Much has been done in the intervening years by policing to address racism in the police and society.

“Despite this, change has not been fast nor significant enough in black communities.

“As we have prepared this plan, we have heard the views of black people and their experiences of policing. We have listened to the voices of our own black colleagues about the service they belong to.

“The challenge for reform, set out by Macpherson, cannot be said to have been unambiguously answered by policing. Many people believe policing to still be institutionally racist and have grounds for this view.”

The new report, due to be published next week, will also state: “We have much to do to secure the confidence of black people, including our own staff, and improve their experience of policing – and we will.

“We will be held to account and we welcome scrutiny. That need for change is evident.

“Policing lags behind almost every part of the public service as an employer of choice for black people.

“Confidence levels are much lower, and our powers are disproportionately applied to black people. In some crimes, victimisation rates are higher.

Glasgow Says No to Racism event
The plan will be open to consultation (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“Black officers and staff leave policing earlier in their careers than white staff and the fact we have only seen two black officers reach chief constable or assistant commissioner rank in policing’s history is a failure.”

It adds: “Black people are seven times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people and five times more likely to be subjected to the use of force.

“Testimonies tell us that black people find these encounters – particularly stop and search – confrontational, stigmatising and humiliating.

“Ten per cent of our recorded searches, 27 per cent of use-of-force incidents and 35 per cent of Taser incidents involved someone from a black ethnic group.

“The latest estimates suggest that only 3.5 per cent of the population is black.”

The plan, which will be open to consultation, will state: “Our vision is for a police service that is anti-racist and trusted by black people.”

The Met Police’s former head of diversity Victor Olisa told the Guardian: “They may say they will do better, but without an admission of institutional racism, it won’t be believed in communities.

“Police chiefs are being insular and doing what suits them and not the service of the public.”

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