The Independent Office for Policy Conduct is launching a review into whether police officers in England and Wales discriminate against Black and ethnic minority communities. Stop-and-search and the use of force will be among the issues examined by the IOPC.
The announcement comes following widespread criticism of the police in recent stop and search cases caught on camera. Stop-and-search powers are nine times more likely to be used against black people than against white people in England and Wales.
IOPC Director General Michael Lockwood said, "Evidence of disproportionality in the use of police powers has long been a concern. This particularly impacts on confidence in policing in Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities. But even with the numbers and the statistics, particularly from stop and search data, we still need to better understand the causes and what can and should be done to address this.”
In the coming months the IOPC will launch race discrimination as a thematic area of focus to establish the trends and patterns. IOPC says this may help drive real change in policing practice. Thematic case selection involves independently investigating more cases where racial discrimination may be a factor. This is to develop a body of evidence to identify systemic issues which should be addressed.
Lockwood added, “We will also be investigating more cases where victims from BAME communities have felt unfairly treated by the police. For example, whether the police are treating allegations of hate crime from BAME complainants seriously. Or where it is alleged the police have not recognised or treated BAME victims of crime as victims.
“This is about identifying where we are seeing good and bad practice, and where there are then opportunities to drive real learning and change.”
The Metropolitan Police apologised to athlete Bianca Williams over a stop-and-search incident that took place earlier this week.