July 13 2024
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Met repeats its history of institutional racism since McPherson, Casey Report finds

Met repeats its history of institutional racism since McPherson, Casey Report finds

Emergency lights, Etolane, Flickr under Creative Comms,

The Casey Report reveals an appalling approach by the Met towards Black communities. Both inside and outside the Met, Black people are routinely discriminated against. The report was clear – ‘We have found institutional racism in the Metropolitan Police.’

This racism was divided into two broad categories; “external” racism by the Met against civilians and “internal” racism against Black employees.

Externally, the report finds that the racism identified by the McPherson report over twenty years ago still remains. Black Londoners are simultaneously overpoliced and unprotected.

Black people have been left more vulnerable to crime. Over the last three years, Black people in London were at least 70% more likely to be a victim of violence against the person; 66% more likely to be a victim of domestic abuse, 167% more likely to go missing, and twice as likely to be raped. Over the last 20 years, Black people were at least twice as likely to be murdered, rising as high as six times in the most recent data. Black people are also seven times more likely to die after police restraint.

But despite being left so vulnerable, Black Londoners remain subject to disproportionately aggressive policing. This is most clear in the analysis of stop and search powers. The Met account for half of all stop-and-searches in the whole of England and Wales, but have a much lower than average arrest rate as a result, with little statistical impact on crime. The report heard examples of stops being justified purely on grounds of race. Black people are 3.5 times more likely to be stopped and searched; and approximately 1 in 4 young Black men in London have been stopped and searched. The report notes, with concern, that this suggests ‘the same level of disproportionality described in the Macpherson inquiry in 1999.

Adultification bias is prevalent in the Met’s approach to Black children, particularly boys: the proportion of strip-searches used on black boys reached as high as 75%. This disproportionality extends to other, more violent tactics. Black people are three times more likely to be handcuffed, nearly five times more likely to be hit with a baton, and four times more likely to be tasered.

As a result, it is hardly surprising that only half of Black Londoners trust the Metropolitan Police, and only a third think they do a good job for the city.

Meanwhile, internal racism is a similarly significant problem. The report found “evidence of a hostile culture” which discriminated against Black officers in particular. BAME people are 17% of officers, but 46% of Londoners. Despite this, fewer than half of White Met employees think that Black people are underrepresented in the Met. Met officers of many ranks felt comfortable repeating the idea that the Met had “lowered standards” to hire more BAME officers.

Nearly half of Black employees had experienced racism at work. Officers recounted being routinely asked for ID as they walked around their station, or being routinely stopped and searched even after joining the Met. Minority officers felt “they can’t in good faith recommend this job” to their community.

Following an interim report, Commissioner Mark Rowley accepted “systematic bias and failings” within the Met’s misconduct system. Black officers are 81% more likely to be subject to a misconduct case, and more likely to face a “case to answer” decision, while allegations of race-based discrimination were less likely to face such decision. Outside of misconduct hearings, BAME officers face further criticism of their conduct – Black and Asian officers are over twice as likely to be marked as “unsuitable for policing”, often leading to resignation.

To resolve these far-reaching, systemic problems, the Casey report provided several recommendations, including a newly-designed misconduct system, new processes for engaging and restoring trust with communities, a focus on policing by consent, and a “fundamental reset” on stop and search.

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