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2052 is 'shock' date police service will finally represent population it serves, MPs told

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Forces still 'too slow' on progress 20 years after Macpherson Report.

MP Alex Norris: Led the Commons debate

MP Alex Norris: Led the Commons debate

Date - 26th February 2019
By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle
7 Comments7 Comments}

 

BAME representation in policing is half what it should be and will not catch up until the year 2052, MPs have been warned.

Forces in England and Wales are “so slow” in their current rate of progress with a third still without a single black female officer and their ranks swelling by just 34 individuals in the last decade, a national debate in Westminster was told.

Some 20 years on from Macpherson Report into the racially-motivated murder of teenager Stephen Lawrence, members questioned how many of its 70 recommendations had been acted on.

Labour’s Alex Norris, who led the motion in the Commons on whether the results of that inquiry have been implemented, said he was “shocked” by some of the statistics – despite a four per cent year-on-year increase in representation.

Yesterday’s debate came in the wake of more disappointing findings from the Met Police’s human resources department that it would take 100 years before it has the same ethnic mix as the London population it serves if it continued to recruit at current rates.

Mr Norris, the MP for Nottingham North, said: “The proportion of officers from BAME background is half what it would be in the general population.

“At the current trajectory it will be 2052 before the police service represents the population it serves."

He said he had discovered in 13 of 43 forces there is not a single black female officer.

Mr Norris added: "And in total across the force the number of black female officers in the last 10 years has increased by 34. Not 34 per cent, that’s 34 individuals. I think it is astounding."

He said the Home Affairs Select Committee had taken evidence from Stephen's mother Baroness Lawrence in her campaign to get justice for her 18-year-old son.

On whether the Macpherson Report's 70 recommendations had been acted on, he said she had "struggled to find the information" on many of them, saying progress had "stagnated".

That view was echoed by Tory MP Douglas Ross, who also sits on the select committee, and said Baroness Lawrence was "very clear in her view they had not been met, they had fallen by the wayside".

But the member for Moray said the committee had concluded 10 years ago that 67 of the recommendations had been implemented fully or in part.

He said: "So how could one committee in 2009, 10 years after the inquiry, think that 67 of the recommendations had been met fully or in part?

"But now at the very start of our inquiry and looking at the same report 20 years on, we're finding real confusion and uncertainty on how to judge if these recommendation have been enacted, if they have been followed, if they have been met fully or in part."

Mr Ross said Police Scotland saw an increase of more than one in 10 recruits from minority ethnic backgrounds in 2017, but noted that retention and promotion of staff is equally as important.

He said: "It's unfortunate, I believe, that none of Police Scotland's executive team come from a black and minority ethnic background. We have had Police Scotland now for almost five years and it'd be good to see promotion throughout the ranks.

"I'm not saying it won't happen and it's not a criticism, it's just an observation that it'd be good to see that."

Battersea MP Marsha de Cordova said it was "disgraceful" that it was unclear how many of the 70 recommendations have been implemented.

In response Policing Minister Nick Hurd said that according to the government, 68 of the recommendations had been acted on in full or in part, but he welcomed the select committee scrutinising that assessment.

Edmonton MP Kate Osamor said evidence showed policing was going backwards in tackling the disproportionate stop and search of black men, which she said "points to discrimination".

Citing official police statistics, Ms Osamor said black people were being stopped at three or four times the rate of white people at the time of the Lawrence inquiry, but in 2016-17 the rate had rocketed to eight times.

Black communities tend to live in areas of high deprivation, she said, adding: "So concentrating stop and search in boroughs with high levels of deprivation fuels disproportionality and entrenches stop-searches and police intervention.

"That disproportionality has not been acknowledged by the Government and it raises the concern there is a real denial of the issue.

"Indeed the concerted efforts of some to deny that such bias exists in the face of overwhelming statistical evidence makes me worry that perhaps we are regressing rather than continuing to move on with the recommendations of the Macpherson Report."

Currently, some 14 per cent of Met officers are from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds – this is 16 per cent among PCs, then less than 10 per cent for higher ranks, up to chief officers where the proportion is four per cent.

BAME officers and staff are more likely to resign from the force or raise grievances, a Met report found.

According to data from the 2011 Census, 40.2 per cent of London residents identified as BAME.

The force's head of HR, Clare Davies, said: "For many the progress is too slow.

"Some would say that we need to do more than we have done, particularly in terms of our recruitment and representation.

"If we continue, even with the great progress we've made, it would take over 100 years to be representative of London."

Last week, Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said the 1999 report, which concluded the London force was “institutionally racist”, had "defined my generation of policing".

She said: "It is very hard to think of any other one event which has made such a big impact on policing.”

On claims that the force had not made enough progress, Commissioner Dick said she did not believe the force was racist now, and that it had made progress following the Macpherson Report.

She added: "I simply don't see it as a helpful or accurate description.

"This is an utterly different Metropolitan Police.

"We're not at all complacent. London keeps on changing and there are lots of challenges for us in policing it well and giving the best possible service to all our communities.

"We are ambitious for the future, we are not going to forget Stephen or his legacy and we will continue to educate our officers about why it is that this police service does what it does now, and how that comes from the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry."

The force wants to boost recruitment of BAME officers by another 250 per year.

On Sunday, on the actual day of the 20th anniversary of the report’s publication, the father of the murdered 18-year-old claimed the legacy of reform arising from his death is “at risk” without an overview body to carry out the findings of the Macpherson Report.

Calling for a new body to be brought in to ensure the report's findings are implemented, Neville Lawrence argued no one is holding policing to account and forces “could be paying lip service to the recommendations”.

He fears that violence on Britain's streets is even worse than when his son was stabbed to death more than a quarter of a century ago

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David

What should we be doing then? Putting under-represented sections of the community into Home Office approved armlocks or have me telling jokes at them until they sign up even if they don't want to?

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Cathedral Bobby

Yeah right, duck there goes another low flying 🐖. I cannot see the day when 50% of those applying will be women, and of those women a corresponding percentage based on BME demographic profile will be women from these communities and some possibly LGBT as well. Setting targets which will not be deliverable without seriously skewing your selection process, eg NO MALES NEED APPLY FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS, is nonsensical. 

 

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Hyphen

More hot air. It’s all getting a bit boring now.

If only politicians and senior leaders like Dick and Thornton were as bothered about the sheer state of Policing now. It might be unpopular to say but we have FAR more to worry about than this. 

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Zulu 22

They will be running recruiting campaigns in H.M.Prison next.  I do not know the figures but I believe that the BAME have a higher proportion of officers than the Jewish people do, so what does that say. 

 

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bensonby

We will never be representative. Nor should we be: we don’t recruit the elderly, criminals, many disabled people, and so on. Even if we were “representative” in very basic terms are we going to make sure that we have the “right” number of black Caribbean people to black African? What about individual African tribes? 

The rhetoric is stupidly simplistic and lacks any kind of nuance.

Are we saying that to respond to a homophobic hate crime you have to be gay? Or if a Pakistani person is burgled do we have to provide a Pakistani DC to investigate? 

 

Of course not, that’s nonsense and offensive. Provided an officer is fair, compassionate, and acts according to law that should be enough. We should treat people according to their needs. It isn’t hard. The rest follows.

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