Police Race Action Plan: Improving Policing for Black People
The Police Race Action Plan (The Plan) sets out the ambition of police chiefs in England and Wales to build an anti-racist police service and address race disparities affecting Black people working within or interacting with policing.
The first iteration of The Plan has been published:
It has the commitment of all 44 Chief Constables in England and Wales.
T/Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dr Alison Heydari is the appointed Programme Director for the Police Race Action Plan. The role of the Programme Director is to lead the direction of the Plan, working with communities, the NPCC, national portfolio leads (including Stop and Search), College of Policing, Chief Constables and police officers and staff.
Alison’s career began in 2000, policing with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary as a student officer. She was enrolled onto the Home Office Accelerated Promotion Scheme for Graduates, seeing her promoted to Sergeant with just over two years of service.
Alison is also a trained Negotiator, and a Public Order and Public Safety Gold Commander.
Alison joined the Metropolitan Police Service in June 2020, serving as a Frontline Policing Commander, with additional responsibility for a number of portfolios including as lead for neighbourhood policing. Her passion for the implementation of Procedural Justice is reflected in her commentaries, published papers and research.
Alison was appointed as Programme Director in September 2023. Her priority will be focusing on what will build trust, confidence and legitimacy, including:
A comprehensive community strategy and delivery plan
Ensuring meaningful engagement with stakeholders
Prioritising activity which will make the biggest positive difference to Black communities
Ensuring those carrying out this vital work have the necessary resources to do it well
In 2022 we commissioned a public survey and invited members of the public, individual police officers and staff, and representatives from policing and other organisations to share their thoughts on the Plan.
The survey - one of the biggest of its kind in policing – received more than 5,000 responses, of which 10 per cent were from Black or Black British or mixed Black heritage respondents.
The Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Board (ISOB) led by Barrister Abimbola Johnson also submitted feedback on the Plan, and we received individual responses from a number of national race equity groups and organisations with an interest in and experience in race issues.
Every police force in the England and Wales collated feedback on the Plan from their officers and staff, stakeholders, and communities, which is vital in gathering a wide range of views from across policing.
All feedback will now be considered to identify the action needed to develop the Plan further and inform its implementation. The Plan will change as a result of the feedback and a final version will be published in Spring 2023.
The Chair of ISOB is Abimbola Johnson. Ms Johnson is a barrister specialising in criminal and professional regulatory defence work. Her practice predominantly centres on serious criminal cases involving gang violence, drug trafficking, and dishonesty offences. She comes to the role with both a passion to tackle racism and a professional understanding of crime and its causes.
As a Black Londoner who represents a disproportionate amount of Black people in court, she is also personally and professionally familiar with the specific concerns and anxiety that many Black people feel towards the police.
The ISOB will scrutinise, check, and challenge police leaders, publicly reviewing, reporting and communicating on the extent to which the Plan is delivered and making recommendations for further progress.
Since the Police Race Action Plan was published in May 2022, the NPCC and College of Policing have continued to work with stakeholders to refine the activities set out in the plan, so they have clear timeframes for delivery and are best placed to improve outcomes for Black people.
During this time we have also invited members of the public, individual police officers and staff, and representatives from policing and race equity organisations to share their thoughts on the Plan, as well as the Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Board (ISOB) led by Barrister Abimbola Johnson.
We have revised some of the actions based on feedback and we have more work to do before we release the second iteration of the Plan to the public. It is critical we get this right.
This involves considering the recent Casey Review within the Plan and ensuring that all stakeholder feedback has been thoroughly examined, so we can demonstrate to our stakeholders and Black members of the public what we have changed and why.
Policing is committed to evidencing progress that delivers on our promise to be an anti-racist service. We have been working with police forces identified as ‘icebreakers’ on the actions within the Plan. These forces will ‘break the ice’ for other forces through innovation and developing, testing and implementing more effective and legitimate policing activities, for wider uptake by other forces across England and Wales.
We are working to publicly release the revisions to the Plan in late Summer 2023.
In his new position as Chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council and as the new Senior Responsible Officer for Police Race Action Plan, Chief Constable Gavin Stephens said, "I feel passionate about delivering an anti-discrimination, anti-racist police service.
“Working with the College of Policing, and supported by the Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Board, I will be recruiting a new Programme Director to take the Plan forward and lead the reset that is required. We will be issuing a refreshed action plan that I am confident will deliver the change our workforce, and the communities we serve, need and deserve. We must be judged on action and not words.”
If you have any questions about the national Police Race Action Plan, please get in touch. You can contact us via our dedicated email address [email protected].
Alternatively, if you would like to find out more about the Police Race Action Plan being implemented in your area, please contact your local police service. Visit your local police force website for information on contact options.
The Plan is our response to events in the UK that have highlighted longstanding issues of racial inequality within policing. For example:
There is a 20% gap in confidence in policing between Black Caribbean communities and the general population – the gap is historic and widening.
Black people experience policing powers disproportionately – for example, they are 7 times more likely to be stopped and searched than White people.
Black people experience disproportionate negative outcomes across the criminal justice system, including as victims.
There is a significant lack of representation of Black officers and staff, particularly in senior ranks.
Many Black officers and staff are dissatisfied, with specific concerns about culture, retention, support to progress and misconduct processes.
On the basis of these disparities and historically lower rates of trust and confidence in policing, our immediate focus is on the experiences and concerns of Black people. We are working to ensure fairness and inclusion for other minority or under-represented groups.
Our vision is for a police service that is anti-racist and trusted by Black people.
An anti-racist police service requires us to proactively tackle racial disparities in policing – not to exacerbate racial disparities that may exist elsewhere in society – and to be continually aware of and address issues of race and racism.
We are committed to zero tolerance of racism in policing:
Policing will adopt an ‘explain or reform’ approach to address the negative impact and outcomes experienced by Black people.
Policing will ensure that officers and staff understand the history of policing Black people and the ongoing impact and trauma of disproportionality.
The development of a representative workforce.
Policing will increase the involvement of Black communities in its work and improve support to Black victims of crime.
We will deliver these core commitments through the actions set out across 4 areas of work which seek to ensure the following:
Black people and communities are properly represented within policing, with an internal culture that promotes inclusivity and supports their development and progression.
Black people and communities are respected and treated in a fair and equitable way.
Black people and communities are routinely involved in the governance of policing.
Black people are protected and properly supported as victims of crime and as vulnerable groups.
Each of these areas of work have distinct programmes and delivery plans. They are each led by senior officers from across the service, who will continue to be responsible for delivery of actions across them.
We have established a programme board and stakeholder group, with the NBPA as a core part of both.
Working with the NBPA we have launched a national survey for Black police officers and staff to understand their experiences within policing. The survey will be run annually and will be used to inform ongoing actions against the Race Action Plan.
We have undertaken research in key areas, such as barriers to recruitment, community trauma and behavioural change, to inform priority areas.
We supported the Police Uplift Programme to ensure that the recruitment of 20,000 new police officers was more representative of the communities we serve, including increasing the numbers of Black police officers.
Policing is more diverse than ever with more female (53,000 female officers) and ethnic minority officers (12,000) than ever before.
Black history, currently part of the College of Policing police officer training curriculum, will be rolled out to other key areas of learning and development.
We have agreed national data standards with the Home Office on the use of stop and search, use of force, and use of Taser. This will ensure consistency across forces and allow the public to see how, where, and who the powers are used against and to prompt scrutiny where disparity exists.
The outcomes framework will ensure all our actions contribute to creating an anti-racist police service. It sets out the aims of the programme and has been informed by community and internal consultation. It may be developed further in consultation with the ISOB.
We are responsible for making sure that Black people feel:
A police service that protects Black people from crime, and seeks justice for Black victims.
Making sure Black people feel, and are, safer.
Reducing Black victimisation, especially of hate crime and serious youth violence.
Reducing the harm caused by the crime and disorder experienced by Black people, particularly by the most vulnerable.
Treating Black victims and witnesses better, understanding their needs and vulnerabilities.
Improving the quality and outcome of our investigations for Black victims.
Taking clearer action to tackle far-right extremism and racist violence.
Improving how we prevent, and respond to, the crime and disorder concerns of Black communities, particularly of young people.
Helping Black communities to address local crime and disorder problems.
Actively supporting services that make a difference to young Black people’s lives, and reduce the need for us to be involved later on.
A police service that is fair, respectful and equitable in its actions towards Black people.
Eliminating any racial bias, stereotyping, profiling or discrimination in our actions.
Treating Black people as individuals, and taking account of their needs, vulnerabilities, experiences and circumstances, such as trauma.
Approaching racial disparities in our actions as problems in themselves, regardless of their causes, because of their impact on Black people.
Minimising any harms we inadvertently cause, because of their differential impact on Black people.
Reducing the risk of criminalising Black people by ensuring that they benefit from early action, prevention and diversion.
A police service that routinely involves Black people in its governance.
Accepting the impact of historic policing practice, which has led to community trauma and distrust of the police.
Understanding the frustrations of Black people about the slow speed of change.
Responding to community trauma and reconciling police and community divisions.
Involving Black people in our oversight and scrutiny processes proactively and as a matter of course.
Making sure that Black people:
- can influence our decisions at different stages in the process
- are able to voice their opinions, to which we listen and take into account
- receive timely and meaningful information from us about our decisions and how we reached them
- have opportunities to review our decisions and have appropriate means of redress
- are treated with dignity and respect
A police service that is representative of Black people, and supports its Black officers, staff and volunteers.
Eliminating any racial bias, stereotyping, profiling or discrimination from our policies, procedures, processes and practices.
Approaching racial disparities in the police as problems in themselves, regardless of their causes, because of their impact on our Black officers, staff and volunteers.
Making sure that Black people:
- are encouraged and well-prepared to apply for police roles - submit good applications - are not disadvantaged in the process - are assessed fairly - are able to develop and progress, including to the most senior levels - have their individual needs met - are listened to and have influence - have good experiences in the workplace - feel valued and want to stay in the police
24th May – Police Race Action Plan: Improving policing for Black people published in its first iteration. The public survey on the plan will launch.
May - October – the Plan will be subject to engagement and scrutiny from a wide range of stakeholders, and feedback will be analysed, considered, and publicly reported upon.
The Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Board (ISOB), chaired by Barrister Abimbola Johnson will scrutinise the Plan and the approach to delivery.
Work will be undertaken to determine timeframes for delivery of the actions.
28th August - The public survey on plan closes.
Spring 2023 – the second iteration of the Plan will be published, containing further delivery detail.
Dates for final sign off and publication of the Plan may change, depending on the extent of changes required after consultation and scrutiny from the ISOB. We will update the timeline as this develops
We welcome all views, both from inside and outside of policing.