We are currently experiencing network problems with the desktop version of Police Oracle. We hope to have these resolved as soon as possible.

Commitment to the Race Action Plan is inconsistent says scrutiny Chair

The Chair of the Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Board for the Race Action Plan has said more needs to be done to improve national consistency for the implementation of the plan.

There remains an inconsistency in the delivery of the Race Action Plan, the Chair of the Independent Scrutiny Board has said. 

Criminal defence and professional regulatory barrister Abimbola Johnson has said that while she has seen dedication from policing to the plan, it has not been the case across England and Wales. 

“There are some Chief Constables who are very clearly committed to progressing the Race Action Plan, there are some who have been quite silent about it and there have been a few who have been actively obstructive in terms of pushing it forward,” she told the Home Affairs Committee. 

When asked whether she could name any of those who were being “obstructive”, she said it has not come from direct conversations with Chief Constables, but that it is “quite clear” from the rhetoric you can see that there are people in policing who are not supportive of “things they would describe as woke, that they would say are distractions”. 

“If you were to look through the rhetoric that comes from certain senior leaders in policing and the things that they say, what they categorize as extraneous or distracting programmes of work, it can be quite clearly seen that there are some people in policing who do not support the aims,” she said. 

“I think that number is relatively small, overall, there is dedication to the plan or a neutrality towards it, and there’s a small number who view it as a nuisance.” 

Meanwhile, she highlighted ‘ice-breaker’ forces among which are West Midlands and Hampshire – these forces attend more regular meetings with the national police team to report on progress. 

Programme Director of for the Race Action Plan, DCC Tyron Joyce previously told Police Oracle about some of the work that has already begun under the plan – it includes changes to the PEQF and development of a National Data Transparency Strategy. 

He added, however, that a level of “anxiety and cautious” optimism was to be expected – and emphasised the importance of providing evidence of significant change. 

When asked specifically about the Met – Ms Johnson explained that there has been some juxtaposition between the national plan and activity being run by MOPAC which was established prior to the launch of the national plan. 

Ms Johnson wants to see more communication and joined up working - but said this has started moving forward and has been made a priority for this year. 

She wants to see the Met at the “forefront of a lot of activity” showcasing both areas where things are going well, but also accepting areas where they are failing.

While not at that point yet, she said better discussions are taking place under the new leadership. 

Chair of the National Black Policing Association, Andy George, has previously told Police Oracle there is disproportional treatment with regards to internal matters and grievances. 

Ms Johnson told the Committee that experiences of black and minority ethnic officers in relation to misconduct proceedings is “not exclusive to the police”. 

One workstream in the plan is on internal culture and inclusivity. 

“There is a recognition that the police need to be more culturally aware of the different experiences that people have, of different backgrounds, different ways people have of communicating, that the expectations of professionalism need to be adjusted for different people’s cultural backgrounds,” she said. 

She doesn’t think that removing LQCs and giving powers back to policing would help – calling instead for more Chairs from Black and racial minority backgrounds, more diversity on panels, and better reviewing of the reasons why people have come through the systems. 

Coming back to ensuring consistency, for her the key is “middle management”. 

“What we need to see is the showering down of nuanced discussion about what being anti-racist means, an understanding of the nuances of the definition of institutional racism that does not mean labelling every single police officer racist but it does mean being willing to challenge the existing procedures and processes that exist because they have failed communities consistently for a number of decades and thinking about what policing can do about that," she explained. 

“For this plan to work it needs to be felt at a one-to-one level – when a police officer is on the street interacting with people, changes in their behaviour, changes in their interaction into their insight if that message is not trickling down to the rank and file in policing it’s going to be lost.” 

Leave a Comment
View Comments 11
In Other News
NBPA Chair 'moves away' from race action plans as DCC lead retires
Promotion and diversity: 'focus on practical as well as aspirational'
Interview: Race Action Plan update
More News