Sadiq Khan has today ordered the Met to justify stop and searches on black suspects to community panels and double their target for new BAME recruits from 19 per cent to 40 per cent by 2022 as he seeks to overhaul Scotland Yard from City Hall.
The Labour Mayor of London, who will stand for re-election next May, has said that he has made the demands after listening to the ‘continued frustrations of black Londoners who are concerned about the disproportionate use of some police powers’.
Mr Khan has asked for the 40 per cent recruitment target by 2022 because 40 per cent of the London population from the Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) community.
Mr Khan, who is responsible for policing in the capital, has also convinced Scotland Yard Commissioner Cressida Dick that officers will have to justify stop and search incidents to community panels. But it is not yet clear if the panels will have any powers to punish officers they believe have behaved inappropriately.
The Mayor has pushed for the changes after claiming that a black person in London is six times more likely to be pulled over while driving than a white people. Black people are also four times more likely to be stopped and searched in the street than a white person, a City Hall report said this year.
Mr Khan said: ‘In London, we pride ourselves on a being a beacon of diversity and a city that is both fair and inclusive. But the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer, which followed the tragic killing of George Floyd, highlighted how much more we have to do to improve trust and confidence among the black community in our public institutions’.
The Met’s ranks are currently 15 per cent BAME – and last year a Scotland Yard report estimated that they would need a century for the force to reach racial parity with the city it serves.
Experts have said there is a nationwide shortage as half of all non-white police already work in London. Outside London, 6.9 per cent of police are non-white, when the overall population of the UK is 14 per cent from ethnic groups, with a national recruitment drive to find more BAME officers and reach parity largely failing.
Sadiq Khan has demanded two out of five new Met recruits are BAME and called for an immediate review of police road traffic stops in the capital as part of a plan to address his concerns over tactics affecting black Londoners
Two in five new recruits to the Metropolitan Police must be from ethnic minority backgrounds under new plans drawn up by Sadiq Khan and agreed with the Met
In an action plan unveiled today after months of talks between City Hall and Scotland Yard, Met commissioner Cressida Dick said her force is ‘not free of discrimination, racism or bias’ and has vowed to eliminate it.
In an action plan unveiled today, Met commissioner Cressida Dick admits the force is ‘not free of discrimination, racism or bias’ and has vowed to eliminate it
The developments come at the end of a year of protests by the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd, who was killed by a white officer who kept his knee on the victim’s neck for more than eight minutes.
Half of all Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) police officers in England and Wales – more than 5,000 – work in the Met, while around 31 per cent of its 2,000 special constables and 43 per cent of its volunteer police cadets are from such backgrounds.
There are also nearly 10,000 police staff colleagues of whom more than a quarter are from BAME communities.
However, the commissioner has outlined an ambition to increase the numbers further and ensure BAME officers make up 40 per cent of all Met officers recruited from 2022, while trying to encourage more black Londoners to consider a career in policing.
The scheme, which has also been worked on by London Mayor Sadiq Khan includes £400,000 of ring-fenced funding as part of efforts to eradicate disproportionality in promoting officers, so there are ultimately more BAME sergeants and inspectors.
Furthermore, new recruits will spend a proportion of their initial learning understanding the history of the local area they will police, including learning the cultural history, lived experiences and the challenges the communities have faced.
Steps are also being outlined to improve stop-and-searches, which top brass insist must be justified to community panels.
The commissioner said: ‘I want the Met to be the most trusted police service in the world. We have made a lot of progress over many years, but there is much more to be done. I have been committed to this work throughout my service as a police officer and that commitment is as strong as ever.
‘I recognise trust in the Met is still too low in some black communities, as is their trust in many other institutions. I feel very sorry about that. It is something I have worked to change and I commit now to stepping up that work further.
‘Lower levels of trust create challenges to keeping Londoners safe – be it a reluctance to share information, to report crime, or to support our work to tackle violence. Sadly this leads to more black victims of crime.
‘My top two operational priorities are reducing violence and increasing public confidence in the Met, particularly the confidence of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities. Actions are more important than words and, as I have said before, we can do more and we will.
‘George Floyd’s death was utterly awful. We all recognised the strength of feeling over the summer here in London and elsewhere. I fervently believe that UK policing is entirely different from policing in the US, but I do understand that what happened has reignited questions on policing and black communities, both now, and in the past.
‘I recognise and regret the pain and anguish felt by many in our black communities. Some people have a strong sense of injustice and unfairness – for some that is historic and for some that is today. Let me assure you, we in the Met are listening and want to work with our black communities to accelerate change.
‘Our job is to protect all of London’s communities – and to do so with professionalism and empathy. Levels of violence and crime generally are too high. I have met too many grieving parents, grieving mothers, of murder victims to not know the devastating impact of people carrying knives and guns.
‘Sadly the most serious violent crime on our streets, knife and gun enabled, affects our black communities more than others.
‘As police, we have exceptional powers vested in us, in order to prevent crime and disorder, keep the public safe and to bring people to justice. Sometimes we have to use those powers swiftly and firmly. When we use those powers we must do so carefully, without bias and with compassion.
‘That is why we are redoubling our efforts to explain why we do what we do, to make improvements where necessary and to build confidence. Along with a great many other people and institutions in London, we have a duty to do all we can to ensure London remains a safe and free global city.’
The Met has faced controversy and accusations of racial profiling following a series of incidents filmed and shared online, including the vehicle stop of Team GB athlete Bianca Williams and her Portuguese sprinter boyfriend Ricardo Dos Santos
It comes as Mr Khan has called for an immediate review of police road traffic stops in the capital as part of a plan to address concerns over tactics affecting black Londoners.
The mayor has asked the Met to launch a year-long pilot scheme looking at samples of vehicle stops to identify any disproportionality relating to ethnicity.
Figures show black people are almost four times more likely to be stopped and searched in the street than white people in London. They are also six times more likely to be stopped in their vehicles, according to City Hall.
The Met has faced controversy and accusations of racial profiling following a series of incidents filmed and shared online, including the vehicle stop of Team GB athlete Bianca Williams and her Portuguese sprinter boyfriend Ricardo Dos Santos.
Five officers are being investigated for misconduct after they were pulled over while travelling with their baby in west London in July.
The mayor said he recognised the progress made by the Met since the force was labelled ‘institutionally racist’ in Sir William Macpherson’s 1999 report following an inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence.
However, Mr Khan added: ‘More must be done – and will be done through this action plan – properly to recognise and address the impact that some police tactics used disproportionately on black people is having.
‘This starts with involving communities and ensuring they have proper oversight and scrutiny of stop and search, the use of Tasers and the use of force, as well as in the training of new police officers so they can better understand the trauma that the disproportionate use of police powers can have on black Londoners.’
City Hall will invest £1.7 million to help boost the recruitment and progression of black officers.
Mr Khan’s plan also aims to ensure officers are not relying on the smell of cannabis alone when deciding to stop and search a person, with such incidents subjected to ‘London-wide scrutiny panels’.
A City Hall source said: ‘This is generational, the most significant changes to policing and black communities since the Macpherson report.’