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It’s time for a behaviour change by the police

It will come as no surprise to black and Asian young people that they were twice as likely to be given Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for breaches of the Covid-19 lockdown than young white men, according to the Evening Standard's report of the National Police Chiefs Council. Generally young black men are nine times more likely to be stopped and searched than white young men.

How many white young men were stopped during the lockdown and not given a FPN? The police seem to lose their discretionary powers when it comes to young black and Asian people and seem to always opt for the harshest sanction. This is also true of the court system. Stopping and searching large numbers of young black men has become disturbingly normalised in this country. This over-policing of black people has led to global protests and calls for systemic change. Police chiefs must go beyond acknowledging these racial disparities and start taking action to adopt fair and proportionate behaviour towards young black and Asian people.

We will never have an ethnically representative police service until we remove racial inequalities in policing. Black and Asian young people will never have the same trust in the police and consider wearing the uniform in the numbers we need until colour is taken out of policing.

Iqbal Wahhab OBE

Chair of EQUAL