BRITAIN’s biggest police force must hire 40 per cent of new recruits from ethnic minority backgrounds, while officers will have to justify stop and search to community panels as part of a major race action plan unveiled on Friday(13).
The plan will set the Met a target for new recruits, with 40 per cent being from ethnic minority backgrounds by 2022, rather than the 19 per cent target it had been planning.
The new target also includes a drive to recruit new officers from London rather than surrounding areas – a policy first adopted when Boris Johnson was London mayor, and then dropped.
London mayor Sadiq Khan and police force have agreed the target ‘after months of negotiations’, reported The Guardian.
“There is still a great amount of work to do to unpick the conscious and unconscious bias and systemic racism that still exists in our public institutions and our society as a whole. It is essential that we listen and respond to the frustrations voiced by Black communities … about the racial and social injustice they see when they interact with our public institutions – from the police service to the education system, the courts, the media and beyond,” Khan told the newspaper.
The Met commissioner, Cressida Dick, is expected to accept that the force is not free of racism or discrimination, and wants to improve the situation, the report said.
Dick has been under pressure over a string of controversial incidents, including stop and searches of innocent black people who were handcuffed, leading to claims of racial profiling.
New research for Sadiq Khan has found that black people in the capital are about six times more likely than white people to be stopped while driving.
The Met has the most black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) officers of any force-5,000 out of 32,600. But it also has the biggest race gap of any force because London is 40 per cent BAME, while the Met’s ranks are 15.4 per cent BAME. In 2019, the Met estimated it would take another 100 years to reach racial parity.
The Met will be expected to answer to new community panels on a range of controversial issues. Community panels will also oversee elite officers from the Territorial Support Group parachuted in to carry out stops, as well as the work of the Violent Crime Task force.
In two recent cases the police watchdog launched investigations into claims the Met bungled the investigation into a racist attack on three black women in north-west London. The police watchdog has launched a criminal inquiry into allegations two officers took selfies at the scene where two black sisters were murdered in a London park.
In 2019, more black people, who are around 13 per cent of London’s population, were stopped as part of Met’s use of stop and search than white, who are 60 per cent of the population.
Between 2008 and 2018, black Londoners were “1.8 times as likely to be victims of knife crime as non-black Londoners, and five times as likely to be charged for knife crimes as non-black Londoners, the research found.
Nationally police chiefs are developing their own plans for all 43 forces in England and Wales, and the Independent Office for Police Conduct is investigating claims of discrimination in policing.