Police signs set up to examine arrests and searches for “lack of diversity” | Race
Some police groups set up to investigate stop and search incidents contain few or no members of ethnic minorities, according to data obtained by the police. Observer.
Community review boards are supposed to have “sufficient” representation of marginalized groups and individuals most affected by stops and searches, including those from ethnic minorities, according to guidelines from the College of Policing.
But in Staffordshire, only one of the 86 people who sit on the 10 independent police review committees of the force’s neighborhood police teams is of an ethnic minority background, according to responses to freedom of information requests. .
The 12 members of the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner’s office quality assurance committee are white. Likewise, there are no blacks on the Lancashire Police Community Checks and Searches review committee of eight.
Just over half of all police services responded to the request for information, suggesting that more services may have a similar problem. However, of the 22 forces able to provide numbers, the majority of panels had fair levels of representation, with nine having at least half of their members identifying as non-white.
Blacks are nine times more likely to be arrested and searched than whites in England and Wales, according to the most recent figures. Campaigners warn police legitimacy undermined in areas without a representative community panel challenging controversial encounters
â€œHaving a diverse panel, who can bring a variety of life experiences to the enforcement role, is a crucial part of building legitimacy and holding the police to account,â€ said Nina Champion, Director of the Criminal Justice Alliance , a coalition of 160 organizations. . â€œThere is a need for a global body that could be a practical support to these local community review committees to ensure consistency and that the committees receive the data they need and that they reflect the affected communities. by stopping and searching. “
The comments come after a report released earlier this year by Her Majesty’s Police Inspectorate said the stop and search had been used disproportionately on certain ethnic groups without apparent evidence of reason. Barely one in 10 stops was intelligence-led, most of it based on the suspicions of officers.
In addition to reviewing receipts and reasons for a shutdown, panel members may perform a number of other scrutiny roles, including reviewing video footage worn on the body.
Review boards are supposed to monitor bad practices, but the lack of ethnic diversity in some of them is not the only problem. A report released by the CJA in 2019 raised questions about the independence of panels. Some were not chaired by a member of the public, but rather by representatives of the police or the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Katrina Ffrench, 36, who chaired the Islington Stop and Search community watch group between 2015 and 2018, said: â€œWe asked officers for information and there was rarely progress on what we raised. For the officers, it was more of a tick boxing exercise. Unfortunately, things got worse or at best remained stagnant. “
Habib Kadiri, head of research and policy at StopWatch, added: â€œThe final executive decision – to fire an officer, keep him on the payroll or go through the criminal justice system for his behaviors – returns to the police. Therefore, the will of the police to respond to reported concerns must also exist. “
A spokesperson for the Staffordshire Commissioner’s Office said it was determined to ensure its review boards more accurately reflect the diversity of their communities, adding that the pandemic has affected recruitment efforts.
A spokesperson for the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Bureau said it is trying to increase the diversity of its quality assurance panel.