10 Feb 2023
Police Chiefs reaffirm their commitment to becoming an anti-racist service after receiving thousands of feedback responses on the Police Race Action Plan to help improve policing for Black people.
The Police Race Action Plan (the Plan) was published in draft form in May 2022, followed by a public survey, which invited members of the public, individual police officers and staff, and representatives from policing and other organisations to share their thoughts on the Plan.
The survey - one of the biggest of its kind in policing – received more than 5,000 responses, of which 10 per cent were from Black or Black British or mixed Black heritage respondents.
The Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Board (ISOB) led by Barrister Abimbola Johnson also submitted feedback on the Plan, and we received individual responses from a number of national race equity groups and organisations with an interest in and experience in race issues.
Every police force in the England and Wales collated feedback on the Plan from their officers and staff, stakeholders, and communities, which is vital in gathering a wide range of views from across policing.
All feedback will now be considered to identify the action needed to develop the Plan further and inform its implementation. The Plan will change as a result of the feedback and a final version will be published in Spring 2023.
Key findings include
Individual comments were provided by members of the public, stakeholders, and police officers and staff. This valuable insight is vital to ensure the plan addresses the issues respondents feel are most important.
Comments from respondents include:
“People need to see the proof of the positive changes for themselves. The fundamental plan is good overall, however some felt it to be tokenistic, which comes back to the recurring theme that people need to experience this first-hand.”
“To be clear, all the groups we have spoken to, including internal and external, believe the plan actions are correct. However, there are various levels of confidence in police having the ability to drive the change in culture and practice. It was recognised that these actions are a significant step forward.”
“They were interested in how we were going to define and measure what success looks like and ensuring there is local flexibility within the plan, reflective of local needs.”
“[The] need to learn about Black history and previous incidents like the Brixton riots. Do not believe you can eradicate a person’s prejudice, it will remain with them, but just get buried unless you educate them.”
Police Race Action Plan Programme Director, Deputy Chief Constable Tyron Joyce, said:
“The Police Race Action Plan, at its core, is about good policing and knowing our communities better and the progress we are making is part of a long-term cultural shift that will leave a lasting legacy.
“Last year all Chief Constables in England and Wales signed up to the Plan, as part of a commitment to improving policing for Black people and becoming an anti-racist police service.
“Since launching it we have worked hard to ensure we’re listening to those with lived experience inside and outside policing, so we get this Plan right, as I truly believe we only have one chance to do that.
“The level of active engagement has been remarkable, and every response is valued and adds to the legitimacy of the Plan.
“As expected, the feedback survey has raised challenges that need to be addressed in the further development and implementation of the Plan.
“The individual comments provided have given us rich insight into what people feel are the most important areas for the plan to focus on in order to succeed. It’s clear that people want to see evidence of the positive changes being made, as well as ensuring the actions are fit for purpose in different local areas that may have differing challenges.
“The ISOB have played a critical role in helping us to shape the Plan and we will continue to work to improve how we listen, understand, and address the concerns of Black people, both within and the community.
“We share the ISOB Chair’s determination that this Plan will deliver tangible and systemic change and our commitment to achieving that remains firm.
“Since launching the Plan we have made progress across all workstreams that can be measured, and that will make a tangible difference to Black people’s experience of policing. This includes the development of an annual ethnicity pay gap report for policing and piloting the recording of vehicle traffic stops to challenge established practices, identify and address disparities, and – if required – build a case for reform.
“Every police force is committed to ensuring the plan reflects their community’s needs and will develop a local version of Black history to ensure it is relevant to the local community.
“This work, at its core, is about good policing and knowing our communities better and the progress we are making is part of a long-term cultural shift that will leave a lasting legacy.”
Chair of the Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Board, Abimbola Johnson, has responded to the report:
“The Police Race Action Plan Survey received a good number of responses. We have started to receive more regular updates about progress in the Plan and continue to provide constructive feedback. However, Plan and ISOB processes still need to improve: the information we receive varies in quality; Plan updates have not been made sufficiently public and as a Board our work is not as visible as it could be. This in turn makes it difficult for us to speak openly about the Programme; something we view as fundamental to our legitimacy.
“The survey highlights that more ought to have been done to ensure higher response rates from Black/Black mixed heritage individuals and those under 35. This is a Plan focused on Black communities and young people, two groups who are the most likely to have contact with police, whether as victims, witnesses, or suspects.
“Qualitative feedback with those groups in the ensuing period has been underwhelming and must be treated as a priority by the Programme. Genuine engagement with Black communities is needed as well as delivery - listening and responding with concrete change.”
Recommendations we’ve made to the Programme:
What you can expect to see from the ISOB this year:
Police Race Action Plan feedback survey summary
Police Race Action Plan feedback survey summary (Welsh)
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