News article

Force examines figures around disproportionality and ethnicity after listening to the community

Jim Colwell Edit.jpg

Devon & Cornwall Police has launched a new drive to combat discrimination in policing after listening to the concerns and experiences of people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

The move follows a deeper analysis of internal performance figures which revealed how individuals from ethnic minorities are disproportionally dealt with in areas such as stop and search and the use of force.

The statistics also show that Black people are much more likely to become a victim of crime.

The Force has for the first time chosen to proactively publish this ethnically referenced data from the past year to March along with a commitment to update these statistics.

In response to a renewed focus around race and policing this summer, Assistant Chief Constable Jim Colwell convened an online listening event in which members of the region’s minority ethnic communities, including some of those who have spoken out in recent Black Lives Matter (BLM) events, shared their experiences of policing.

ACC Colwell said: “The widespread coverage and public interest in the Black Lives Matter movement this summer has prompted a national re-examination of attitudes and practices.

“It has put the issues of equality, diversity, inclusion and fairness under greater scrutiny, including in relation to policing, but this is a much wider problem which affects society as a whole and not one that we can solve alone.

“The stark evidence of the disproportionate impact of COVID 19 on people from minority ethnic communities has highlighted the devastating personal impact of racial disparity.

“It is clear from looking at our statistics and from listening to the lived experiences of ethnic minorities across the Force area that we need to do more to understand this issue.

“To this end, we have launched in-depth examination of the data we collect to discover what lies behind this disproportionality and are determined to work with our communities and other agencies to address the underlying causes of racial disparity.”

The Force has published figures for the period April 2019 to March 2020 which show that if you are Black you are three times more likely to be a victim of crime than you would as a White person.

They also show that if you are Black you are 12 times more likely to be stopped and searched and 9.5 times more likely to be the subject of use of force.

Black people are also six times more likely to be designated as a suspect and half as likely to receive a community resolution.

Data relating to Covid enforcement shows that 900 fixed penalty notices (FPN) were issued with Black individuals 2.8 times more likely to receive an FPN.

Devon & Cornwall Police has launched a wide-ranging audit of its working culture, systems and practices.

This includes custody and criminal justice systems, training, recruitment, staff support, engagement and awareness as well as increasing independent advisor input at executive level from ethnic minorities.

ACC Colwell added: “I have assured people from the ethnic minority community in Devon and Cornwall that this is a genuine attempt to address this complex area – not a knee-jerk reaction – and one which will be conducted with their involvement.

“I have promised that we will listen and that we will be open and accountable – today is an important step in that process.”

“We will work harder to understand what is happening, listen very closely to what people with experiences of the police and partners are telling us and we will not hesitate to change what is not working.”

You can download the statistics here.


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