The government have called an ethnic disparity public consultation! PART 2
Written by The Black Card Talks on 23/12/2020
In our last blog we spoke about the details of the governments call for evidence and shared that we would be giving you some of our answers to the questions in the consultation so you could use, tweak, amend but most importantly submit your views to the government. So here are some more of our thoughts on questions 8 & 9.
- What could be done to enhance community relations and perceptions of the police?
The police need to make it their priority to have better public relations with the community. most notable those from Black, Asian Minority Ethnic backgrounds. You Gov polls have shown that confidence in policing is at a low and even more so in these areas. Robert Peel said “ the ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police existence, actions, behaviour and the ability of the police to secure and maintain public respect”. Public confidence in policing is at a serious and significant low and at this point it is the responsibility of the Police to turn it around. This means their interactions with the public need to come from a place of empathy and not apathy. Whilst it is understandable that there are people behind the badges that are tired of being typecast as the bad apples, they must understand that some communities have no reason to believe that they are not one of those bad apples. Until we are at a point in which confidence in policing is high, Police officers need to walk in this truth and be prepared to change people’s perceptions with every single interaction. The impact this will have will be slow but it will be purposeful.
Additionally Police officers need to be more accessible and accountable to members of the public, and not on their terms but on the terms of the public. Whether by way of public forum or day to day in the public eye, Police officers should listen and learn from the communities of people in which trust is the most forgotten. These conversations should be regular, they should be documented, key actions put in place and reviewed periodically. Currently we measure success of the police by the reduction of crime, however the distrust for the Police is often the reason why people take the law into their own hands. We need to measure the reduction of this and trust in the Police alongside the reduction of crime to truly know that the services they offer are benefiting the whole community.
- What do you consider to be the main causes of the disparities in crime between people in different racial and ethnic groups, and why?
Frankly I feel this question is a leading and harmful question.The reason for this is because we cannot and should not racialise crime. Black people are not one homogeneous group and therefore are not more likely to be involved in knife crime because they are Black and frankly if the police think this, they are racist by definition. Racism “the belief that different races possess distinct characteristics, abilities, or qualities, especially so as to distinguish them as inferior or superior to one another.” Proximity to crime is the reason people are more or less likely to get involved with it. What do I mean by this? Well, if I live in a deprived community to which certain crimes (drugs and violent crimes for example) happen in my area I am more likely to get involved in certain crimes. Therefore whether Black, Asian, White or Minority Ethnic, one is more likely to get involved with the crimes they see on their doorstep.
I am not alien to the idea that gangs are grooming young people who look like them, want the flashy lifestyle they showcase and are using this to entice young Black boys. However it is not because they are Black boys that such crimes are innate to them, they are simply more accessible. Therefore the Police need to be aware of these problems in the community, and stop dealing with these crimes randomly and retrospectively because this has a negative impact. If a Black boy from a deprived community has discarded the idea of such a lifestyle and is stopped by the police and accused of living it, we know there is a chance the boy might think “why should I even bother trying to defy what I have already been labelled as?”. The Police need to play an active role in preventing such crimes not only by stopping and searching Black boys running to meet their parents at bus stops, because the reality of it is that running while Black is suspicious, because they are not seeing individuals they are seeing skin colour. When it comes to racialised crime the definition of suspicious is that someone like you has done this before therefore, it could be your story too. Such leaps in logic are harmful, racialising crime is harmful and the Police should be working to tackle the roots of the crime rather than those that fit the description of a homogeneous groups of people; because simply there are more professions for Black boys to be than a criminal.
That’s it from us at The Black Card talks, tell us what you think by using the hashtag #TheBlackCardTalks and follow us on instagram @theblackcardtalks and let’s keep the conversation going until we all win!