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Young Review calls on Police Crime Commissioners to tackle race disparities in policing

The first Race Equality Audit of Police and Crime Plans by the Police Crime Commissioner’s (PCCs) shows a clear lack of focus on issues affecting black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, according to a report published today by the Young Review.

In May 2017, the Young Review policy team at the Black Training and Enterprise Group undertook a race equality audit of the 42 Police and Crime Plans for England and Wales.

Police and Crime Plans are important because they are statutory documents and set out the PCC’s priorities for their areas. This report is timely following the launch of the Government’s race disparity audit and the new drive from the Cabinet Office to end ethnic disproportionality in the criminal justice system.

Key findings

The report shows a lack of strategic focus on race equality in the Police and Crime Plans. There is limited demographic analysis and relatively few examples of policy developments or any indication that work on race equality is being done. Key findings from the audit of the 42 Police Crime Plans were:

  • More than three quarters (32) of the plans made no reference to race equality and improving outcomes for BAME communities.
  • Only a quarter (10) of the plans made some in-depth reference to an issue affecting local BAME communities.
  • Only six plans highlighted demographic and ethnic breakdown for their area.
  • One quarter (10) of the 42 plans referred to or highlighted an overarching equality strategy.
  • Gwent, with one the lowest BAME populations of 1.8%, had one of the clearest equality statements in their plan.
  • Only two plans highlighted lower levels of confidence from BAME communities in the police than that of the wider populations for their area.

In the UK, 87% of people are white, and 13% belong to a BAME group. However, Government statistics show that:

  • BAME groups are over one and half times more likely to be arrested than white people and are three times more likely to be stopped and searched.
  • Black people are over three times more likely to be arrested than white people and six times more likely to be stopped and searched.

The report contains five recommendations including:

  • Police and Crime Plans should set out how they will meet their statutory duties under the Equalities Act 2010. This should include analysis of local police data, identification of race inequalities and actions to address them.

  • Police and Crime Plans should include a demographic breakdown of the local area and feature ethnicity and faith data.

In a joint statement Baroness Lola Young (Chair) and Jeremy Crook OBE (Vice Chair) of the Young Review said:

‘It is largely at the local level that race disparities can be addressed and PCCs have a pivotal leadership role to play in taking this agenda forward at the local level. This audit shows a disappointing picture in terms of what PCCs have set out in the plans in relation to race equality and BAME communities. There is clearly more work to be done by PCCs and for many of them, it seems they have yet to recognise that there are race disparities to address. We want this audit to serve as a call to PCCs and the Association of Police Crime Commissioners to move race equality higher up their agendas and to keep it there for as long as it takes to see real action leading to effective change.’

The Young Review will be working closely with the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners in moving this agenda forward.

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