Race, racism and policing & Gender and policing
Policing powers to stop and search individuals in public remain amongst the most argumentative aspects of British policing today which was highlighted by both the Scarman and Stephen Lawrence. The issues of policing does not just come out of nowhere there is a full history behind it; this essay will explore those issues in much more depth. The first part of this essay will entirely focus on race, racism and policing followed by gender and policing in the second part of the essay by looking into the issues and challenges UK are facing based on gender and how discrimination within police affects women on daily basis. The essay will touch on Macpherson’s research which will help and understand the reasons behind those 70 recommendations that were made following by some of his examples. According to today’s clear evidence ethnic minority groups have consistently been represented disproportionally in all areas of police data reporting. This essay will focus on the reason why black and people of colour are the most at risk in terms of stop and search, custody death, car stops and use of force and what can be done in order to stop the racism within policing by touching on police culture theory and some of the Edgars Schein findings.
Today UK faces several issues and challenges in relation to race, racism and policing. This problem does not just come out of nowhere e.g. ‘black lives movement ‘there is a history in a context to how this relationship emerges to be seen as problematic. One of the key points in the post war period is the migration from Caribbean Irelands to UK which was in response to call for labour after many soldiers lost their lives during war so therefore labour was required in UK to fill the gap and keep the working industry going. In early 1970’s the issue of mugging began to rise which was not considered to be a crime however it did cause ‘moral panic’ within the public (Waddington, 1986). This type of crime became inextricably linked to young black men particularly urban areas such as London and Birmingham and as a result policing response increased in order to tackle the crime. This leads to over policing in terms of stop and search which then leads to urban disorder. The over policing of mugging and increase of stop and search of black men as well as brutal and violent policing measure is what lead to Brixton riots in 1981 which were the only riot at the time which is now known to be one of the longest and caused most damaged riots in UK history (The Scarman Report: Brixton Disorders (Hansard, 26 October 1982), 1892). The Macpherson made several recommendation to increase number of ethnic minority police officers as well as provide police officers with better training in order to root out the bad apples through disciplinary procedures. However none of it addressed the issue of racism because looking down on few years later stop and search and violent policing measures towards black people was still happening e.g. Stephen Lawrence was killed in racist attack the Metropolitan police made assumptions of Stephen Lawrence involvement in a criminal gang membership without any evidence, the police were even given names of who committed the murder but there was a huge failure in identifying the offender. Black people are 10 times more likely to die from police restrain following total of 380 deaths in police custody which 145 of those were from BME communities. During 2017 UK experienced the highest numbers of custody deaths including Leon Briggs and Skehu Bayoh who both died in custody (Institute of Race Relations, 2012). The Macpherson report labelled police as ‘Institutionally racist’ diagnosing the ‘cultural failure’ of an institution rather than the accountability of individual. Macpherson made 70 recommendations leading reform including bringing the police under the provisions of the race relations act however that was unsuccessful because despite those recommendations very little has changed and we still have cases of police racism today. The main areas of Macpherson’s recommendation focused on openness, accountability and the restoration of confidence, definition of racist incident, reporting and recording of racial incidents and crimes, police practise and the investigation of racist crime, family liaison, victim and witnesses, prosecution of racist crimes, training first aid, training racism awareness and valuing cultural diversity, employment, discipline and complaints, stop and search, recruitment and retention, prevention and the role of education, so these are the main topics Macpherson focused on when making a list of 70 recommendations (Macpherson, 1999). One of Macpherson’s recommendations was to increase numbers of qualified minority ethnic recruits with an aim to end racism however according to Remi Joseph-Salisbury’s and Laura Connelly’s latest research they explain that diversifying the police will not end institutional racism and actually it is other way round, statistics show that Black police officers are more likely to stop black suspect (Diversifying the police won’t end institutional racism, 2019).
Today ethnic minority groups have consistently been represented disproportionally in all areas of police data reporting and especially black people are being impacted the most from stop and search, car stops, use of force e.g. Taser, arrest deaths in custody and in the context of pandemic most recently policing covid-19 restrictions. Black and mixed race people in London are more likely to be Tasered by police, figures show 40% of cases where stun guns used since 2014 involved people of black or mixed white and black ethnicities (Black and mixed race people in London more likely to be Tasered, 2017). When it comes to stop and search police have different powers to stop and search and the most commonly used are those under PACE, section 1 which was introduced almost right after Brixton riots in 1981, section 1 requires that there is reasonable grounds for suspicion that the officer will find stolen or prohibited items on the individual and that particular suspicion must be based on persons information or intelligence and not an individual’s factors such as gender, ethnicity and race. The problem UK faces today is racism within policing and an example of this is those who are responsible carrying out stop and searches tend to be at lower ranks of policing e.g. constables. There are a lot of problems with stop and search such as how the legal test is defined for stop and search because it is very difficult to prove anyone that the person has been stopped unreasonably which highlights the problem we face today (Sanders, Young and Burton, 2008).
Most recent stop and search statistics by ethnicity in London and the rest of the England and Wales shows that metropolitan police has the most significant disproportionality. Statistics show that for white people stop and search rate across the country is approximately 3 per 1000 and the metropolitan police service area is 11 per 1000. When looking at ‘other ethnic group’ it shows that the only ethnic group that is low is the ‘other’ which includes Chinese. For Asian people it’s the twice the rate of white people however the highest numbers of stop and searches is for black people which is 51 per 1000 for metropolitan police service area which shows the disproportionality because actually black people only make up 3.3% of the general population which means there shouldn’t be as many stop and searches however somehow black people are 17 times more likely to be stopped and searched in London (Stop and search, 2020). By looking at the figures overall the disproportionality for black people is around 9 times more likely to be stopped and searched and for Asian people it is 2 times more likely to be stopped and searched. Perhaps there is an explanation to these high numbers of stop and searches that black and people of colour experience so much today. According to Ben Bowling and Coretta Philips research they believe that even though police officers must have reasonable grounds to suspect somebody statistics show that the use of the powers against black and people of colour is disproportionate which is an indication of unlawful racial discrimination. Studies show that reasonable suspicion is frequently absent in many instances of the use of police stop and search. The main challenge that UK faces today is public not trusting police and the reason for that is such stops damage the relationship between police and community, and undermine the legitimacy of, and respect for police. Police officers frequently cite patterns of arrests as evidence that black people are more likely to be involved in some form of crime than white people and then use that as an excuse of the targeting of stop and search. In fact Bowling and Philips (2007) argues that the evidence is clear meaning stop and search is discriminatory towards black and people of colour. The pattern of disproportionate use of police stop search powers is consistent with patterns of selective enforcement based on cultural stereotyping and suspicion of black people thinking all black people are potential criminals (Bowling and Philips, 2007). There is also disproportionality in number of arrests made by police officers today as black and mixed-race young males are much more likely to be arrested as teenagers and in most of cases they also dispropotionally experience force used on them during arrest (Lammy ,2017).
Type Of Service: Rewriting
Type of Assignment: Essay
Subject: Criminal justice
Pages / Words: 11/3000
Number of sources: 30
Academic Level: Undergraduate
Paper Format: Harvard
Line Spacing: Double
Language Style: UK English