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Policing seeks check and challenge for new action on inclusion and race

29 Mar 2021

Independent experts with a track record in championing inclusion and race equality have been invited by police leaders to consider applying their skills and experience to address long-standing challenges in the relationship between Black people and the police.  

Today a campaign has launched to recruit an independent Chair who can shape and scrutinise a new plan of action on inclusion and race in policing.

Police leaders have committed to a plan of action to build a more inclusive police service, and address negative disparities for Black people interacting with, or working in, policing in England and Wales.  

On the basis of evidenced negative disparities and historically lower rates of trust and confidence in policing, the immediate focus will be on the experiences and concerns of Black people. 

The Police Plan of Action on Inclusion and Race is being led by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the College of Policing, with partners from across policing, including Police and Crime Commissioners and staff associations.  A supporting programme will run for at least two years to deliver the plan of action.

The Chair of the Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Board will provide scrutiny, check and challenge for the emerging plan of action.

National Police Chiefs' Council Chair Martin Hewitt said:

“The legitimacy of UK policing is built on relationships between the police and the public, but levels of trust and confidence are significantly lower among some Black people and racial disparities exist that we cannot fully explain.

“These disparities persist despite the strengths of British society, and the fact that policing is more inclusive, more diverse and more reflective of our communities than we have ever been.  

“We are committed to a programme of change to make policing fairer, more inclusive, and, ultimately, more effective.  

“By matching the necessary external challenge and support with our collective commitment, the Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Chair will play a crucial role in building a more inclusive service and addressing disparities in the experiences of Black people interacting with, or working in, policing. 

“This role will help to shape the future of policing and address long-standing challenges in our relationships with Black people. 

“If you want to see change in policing, work with us, and by tackling disparities and improving inclusion, help to keep every community safe.”

The Chair will guide the appointment of the other six to eight members of the Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Board ensuring the necessary expertise, lived experience and challenge is represented. On their appointment, the Chair will work the NPCC and College of Policing to agree The Plan of Action, and they will then provide scrutiny, check and challenge on its progress, including reporting publicly.  The Chair will also establish a wider external reference group of external organisations to ensure that their voices are represented and listened to in monitoring progress against the Plan.

College of Policing Interim CEO Bernie O’Reilly said:

“We are in no doubt about the scale of the challenges policing faces to be truly inclusive for all. While there is no quick fix, we believe that by combining learning from our colleagues of all ranks, external scrutiny and support, and the opportunities of increased recruitment, we can deliver the changes that we know are necessary.

“In addition to this work, the College of Policing and the National Police Chiefs’ Council are working at pace to ensure fairness and inclusion for other minority or under-represented groups both inside and outside of the service.”

Applications are welcomed before 23:59 on 25 April. Full details of the role and application process are available from 09:00 on 29 March here.

Background: 

The Plan of Action on Inclusion and Race will be led by Sir Dave Thompson, NPCC Vice Chair and Chief Constable of West Midlands Police.  It will be supported by a small programme team.

The Plan of Action will be focused on three workstreams, each led by the NPCC Lead:

  • Internal culture and inclusivity 
  • Use of powers 
  • Community Engagement.

The NPCC and College of Policing are continuing to consult on the actions within the plan.

The most recent national figures (Crime Survey of England and Wales 2019) suggested public confidence in their local police currently varies by ethnicity from 75% (average, all respondents, and also all White British), to 87% Chinese. At 76% the confidence rate among those identifying as Black African is higher than the national average (75%), but the lowest rates of confidence are all within other Black communities:

  • 56% (Black Caribbean) respondents 
  • 58% Mixed White/Black Caribbean
  •  61% Black Other.

An NPCC report - Understanding Disproportionality in Police Complaint & Misconduct Cases for BAME Police Officers & Staff 2019 – found disproportionality in the amount of allegations, and subsequent severity assessment and action taken in complaint and conduct allegations between White and Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority officers.

The most recent national data (2021) for stop and search shows that there were 6 stop and searches for every 1,000 White people, compared with 54 for every 1,000 Black people