London Mayor launches new plan to tackle lack of trust in Met Police

An action plan to improve trust in the Metropolitan Police following the Black Lives Matter protests launched today.

The four-point plan published by Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan was in response to concerns about the way the Met was using its powers such as the use of force and stop and search.

The four points are: 

  1. Better use of police powers 
  2. Working together to make Black communities safer 
  3. A police service that better represents and understands Black communities
  4. Holding the police to account for what they do

The Mayor said: “Through the development of this Action Plan, we’ve listened and responded to the continued frustrations of Black Londoners, who are concerned about the disproportionate use of some police powers. 

“It’s simply not right that Black Londoners have less trust and confidence in our police service and it’s something I am determined to resolve.”

The Mayor’s opponents on the London Assembly have also responded to the launch of this plan.

Green Party London Assembly member Sian Berry said: “It’s right that the Mayor has recognised the disproportionate way the Met treats Black Londoners in every way, and the hurt this causes in communities.

“A badly handled, unfair stop and search isn’t just a statistic on a policing database, it’s a person dehumanised, often humiliated and insulted by the experience.

“There is a real risk this action plan becomes a PR exercise aimed at improving people’s perception of the police, without real changes on the ground that make sure every Londoner has true equality before the law.”

Conservative Assembly member Susan Hall said: “To repair relations between the police and the black community the Mayor’s first priority needs to be keeping London safe.

“His failure to tackle crime has undermined London’s confidence in the police.” 

A key point of the plan is increasing the number of officers recruited from London’s Black communities.

As of October 2020 the Met has 5,008 Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) officers, up from just over 3,000 a decade ago, compared to 27,611 for their White counterparts.

This means BAME people make up only 15.3% of officers and the Met is aiming for 16% to be BAME by 2022, 21% by 2024 and 28% by 2030 to bring it in line with the demographics of London, where at the last census the BAME population was 40.2%.

Figures provided by Conservative London Mayor candidate Shaun Bailey show at the current rate it would take until 2058 for the police to become as diverse as the current London population.

From 13 November the Met are reintroducing the London residency requirement for most new officers.

It was removed in November 2018 and was initially planned to be gone for just six months. 

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “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.”

More than 400 individuals and groups helped develop the Action Plan, including 45 black-led organisations along with the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, the Greater London Authority, London’s Violence Reduction Unit, and the Met.

Lord Simon Woolley, director and founder of Operation Black Vote, a racial justice charity said: “It’s clear that there is a long way to go to improve trust and confidence in the Met, and I want to believe that Black communities have been listened to and been involved in new measures that we all hope will bring about much needed change. 

“I remain optimistic and hopeful.”

Featured image credit © Greater London Authority

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