it’s essential to listen, learn and respond to the frustrations voiced by Black people, captured so vividly by the Black Lives Matter protests.
Sadiq Khan, The Independent
From the shocking killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minnesota to the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black and minority ethnic communities, 2020 has highlighted in the starkest terms the devastating human consequences of systemic racism.
I not only recognise the serious and lasting impact that entrenched racism is still having on our society, but I feel it personally as a Londoner from a minority ethnic background, who has spent my entire life living, working, and raising a family in the capital.
The London of today is no doubt a very different and fairer city than when I was growing up. And I’m proud to be the mayor of a city that prides itself on being a global beacon of diversity, fairness and equality. But it’s clear that even here, we still have a huge amount of work to do to root out the conscious and unconscious bias and systemic racism that still exists in our public institutions and society as a whole.
That’s why it’s essential that we listen, learn and respond to the frustrations voiced by Black people, captured so vividly by the Black Lives Matter protests this summer, about the racial and social injustices they still suffer when they interact with our public institutions – from the police service and our education system, to the courts, the health service and beyond. As mayor of London, I want to lead by example and do everything I can to accelerate progress towards a fairer, more equal, more just city. That’s why I’m launching a new plan today which is about taking immediate and concrete steps to address the low level of trust and confidence that many Black Londoners feel towards the Metropolitan Police Service, which I oversee as mayor on behalf of all Londoners.
There is no doubt that the Met Police has made significant and positive steps forward since the 1999 Stephen Lawrence report, which was a landmark moment in the history of race relations in our country. It had a transformative effect on policing and the Met is a very different police service to the one it was 20 years ago. But more needs to be done to ensure we have a truly representative police service that looks like the diverse city it serves, and to recognise and address the impact of some police tactics, such as stop and search, that are disproportionately affecting Black Londoners. We need all communities in London to have trust in the use of police powers as the Met goes about the vital work of tackling crime.
So over the last few months, my team and I have been listening to the experiences and concerns of Black Londoners. We have heard extensive testimony about the changes they want to see in their police service. The result is this action plan.
The focus is on preventing the disproportionate impact of police tactics affecting Black Londoners, such as stop and search and the use of force, and improving transparency and accountability around the way these powers are being deployed. The plan will involve overhauling community scrutiny of police tactics, improving training for police officers and ensuring that the Met’s workforce is more representative of our great city.
As part of this action plan, the Met want to see as many as 40 per cent of new recruits from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds from 2022 and the police commissioner has also decided the Met will re-introduce, from today, the London residency criteria for most new recruits, which should help towards achieving this target. This work will be supported by £300,000 of City Hall investment to encourage young Black Londoners to consider a career in policing.
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