Figures published by City Hall figures show Black Londoners have less confidence and less trust in the Met than white Londoners. There remains a persistent disproportionality in the way certain police powers affect Black Londoners.
Figures show Black Londoners are four times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people in London. Furthermore, six times more likely to be stopped in their vehicles.
Improving trust and confidence
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has published an Action Plan to improve trust and confidence in the Metropolitan police. The plan addresses community concerns about the disproportionality in the use of certain police powers affecting Black Londoners.
The Action Plan was developed following a series of consultations with more than 400 individuals and groups that either work with or within Black communities. The work was undertaken in response to concerns raised about the disproportionate use of police powers, including stop and search, the use of force and taser. Communities told the Met and City Hall that they wanted to see increased transparency in police actions, decisions and communications. A police service that better reflects the city it serves. In addition to improved community monitoring and involvement in reviewing the disproportionate use of police powers and complaints.
The Mayor recognises the progress made by the Met since the Macpherson Inquiry more than 20 years ago. It is more transparent and more accountable than at any time in its history and is more representative of London with more than 5,000 Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic officers, up from just over 3,000 a decade ago.
From City Hall, the Mayor commits, as part of the action plan, to invest £1.7 million to develop greater community involvement in police officer training and in the recruitment and progression of Black officers in the Met.
The Action Plan – which the Met Police welcomes and has committed to take forward actions specific to the police service - focuses on:
Overhauling community monitoring structures
An overhaul of community monitoring structures to ensure that London’s diverse communities are better represented – Black communities will have an even greater role in monitoring a wider range of police powers, including stop and search, the use of Tasers and complaints. There will be greater community involvement in scrutiny of the Met – particularly including the Territorial Support Group and Violent Crime Taskforce. The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) will produce a quarterly race equality audit of the Met’s use of its powers and launch a three-month project with communities to co-design and launch this new scrutiny process.
‘Smell of cannabis’
Stricter oversight and scrutiny of the ‘smell of cannabis’ used as sole grounds for stop and search –Stop and searches with grounds solely based on the smell of cannabis will be subjected to London-wide scrutiny panels and body worn video footage is being made available to communities for further scrutiny to ensure officers are not relying on the smell of cannabis alone when deciding to stop and search, and use grounds based on multiple objective factors.2
Stop and search
Research into stop and search using Body Worn Video (BWV) footage – Academic research to be undertaken of a sample of body worn video footage to understand better the nature of stop and search interactions and the behaviour factors of officers or individuals that lead to escalation in the use of force.
Public scrutiny - The Mayor and Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, together with a panel of community members, will scrutinise the work of the Met. Londoners could also submit questions to be answered by the Met Commissioner and senior officers.
Pilot project to review vehicle stops and call for mandatory data collection – The Mayor has asked the Met to launch a new year-long pilot project to review samples of vehicle stops to identify any disproportionality relating to ethnicity. The Mayor has also written to the Prime Minister to request it be made statutory for the police to collect and publish data on ethnicity for all road traffic stops as part of the Home Office Annual Data Requirement. The letters also asks that the Codes of Practice supporting the Police And Criminal Evidence (PACE) Act – under which street searches are carried out – be extended to cover road traffic stops to more clearly define the limits of the powers.
Improvements to training and diversity in the Met include:
The Met has committed to increase community input by default into specific aspects of the training given to new recruits. This will be made possible by City Hall investment of £1m per year.
Challenging aims for Black police officer recruitment - The Met want to see as many as 40% of new recruits from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds from 2022. The Commissioner has also decided the Met will immediately re-introduce the London residency criteria for most new recruits and will be supported by £300,000 of City Hall investment to encourage young Black Londoners to consider a career in policing.
Delivery of the Action Plan starts immediately and City Hall will involve communities in regular meetings to review the progress made towards the Action Plan’s objectives, the first of which will be in February 2021.