Police forces must explain the disproportionate use of police powers such as stop and search and use of force on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people or risk losing the trust of the communities they serve, a report published today has found.
HMICFRS said that despite having more data on the use of force and stop and search, police forces are still unable to explain why these powers are used disproportionately based on race.
The inspectorate said this unfairness risks further reducing public trust in the police and it could lead to more Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people being drawn into the criminal justice system.
The HMICFRS report also found that:
- Police forces are developing their understanding of how they use force but need to do more.
- Nearly forty years on from the introduction of stop and search legislation, forces still need to do more to understand race disproportionality.
- Police forces still do not fully understand the impact on individuals and communities of the use of police powers.
- Police forces must do more to ensure they identify, understand and tackle disproportionality and explain those reasons and actions to the public.
HMICFRS said too many police forces, officers and staff are not being provided with the skills they need to understand perceptions of their communication in everyday interactions. Nor are they being shown how they can build rapport to help prevent conflict and escalation and thereby reduce the need for the use of force.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams said:
“The tragic killing of George Floyd in America in early 2020, and subsequent protests in the UK and globally, have highlighted once again the significant impact that police interaction can have – particularly on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, communities.
“The public rightly expects the police to protect them by using their powers in an effective and fair manner. Unfair use of powers can be counter-productive if it leads people to think it is acceptable to not comply with the law. It may also make people unwilling to report when they are the victim of crime or come forward as witnesses.
“Police forces must analyse their data and either explain, with evidence, the reasons for disproportionality, or take clear action to address it. The police must be able to show the public that their use of these powers is fair, lawful and appropriate, or they risk losing the trust of the communities they serve.”