“DEEP-ROOTED” inequalities still persist in UK police and very little has been done to stamp out the racial injustice, claimed a recent report by an all-party committee of MPs, which has also heavily criticised the force and the government for making negligible progress in the past 22 years since the release of Macpherson report.
Calling for urgent action to tackle racial disparities in law enforcement, the Home Affairs Committee on Friday (30) also highlighted the “worrying decline of confidence” in the police among some ethnic minority communities.
Among its findings, the report found that adults from black and mixed ethnic backgrounds are less likely to have confidence in the police than adults from white or Asian backgrounds.
MPs, in the report, have also castigated the police for failing to reform themselves. Successive governments of both main parties have also been accused of failing to take racial justice seriously enough, media reports said.
MPs’ recent report also pointed out that findings, such as “institutional racism in UK police”, pointed out in 1999 Macpherson report- which was commissioned to know why the white killers of Stephen Lawrence were allowed to go free- and its subsequent recommendations were ignored over the past two decades, or not followed through.
Describing stop-and-search disparity among communities as “unjustified inequalities”, the report claimed that black people remain “nine times more likely” than white people to be stopped and searched in England and Wales, with most found to be innocent.
Due to the inaction, racial disparities affecting black and minority ethnic (BAME) people, especially black Britons, remain as it is and cannot be explained or justified, the report said, adding the warning that forces will not be representative of the communities they police for another 20 years if current recruitment patterns continue.
In 2020, BAME officers represented just 7 per cent of the police service across England and Wales, far below the 14 per cent of the population in England and Wales who identify as minority ethnic. The gap became starker in senior ranks with only 4 per cent of senior officers reportedly coming from minority backgrounds.
Unveiling the report, the chair of the Home Affairs Committee, Yvette Cooper MP, said the current state of affairs is “unacceptable” and needs to be addressed.
“There are still persistent, deep-rooted problems and unjustified racial disparities in key areas where Sir William Macpherson made recommendations over 20 years ago,” Cooper said.
Among the recommendations, the MPs’ committee has called for setting recruitment targets so that all forces in England and Wales reflect the ethnic diversity of their local populations and a national target of at least 14 per cent by 2030.
The report also recommended the appointment of the UK police’s statutory race equality commissioner as well as a new race equality steering group to be chaired by the home secretary.
Police leaders have accepted the report’s findings, saying the slow pace of reform was of “deep regret”.
MPs recent report has come amid a row over Tories’ new crime reduction plan. Introducing the new Beating Crime Plan on Tuesday (27), prime minister Boris Johnson had described stop-and-search as “kind and loving”.