Bold steps are being taken by the Met to accelerate our work to increase even further public trust and confidence in us – particularly among London’s black communities.
We have come a very long way over the last two decades, working with our many and diverse communities to build positive relationships, focus on what matters most to Londoners and recruit a workforce that reflects the city we serve.
The Met wants all communities to have the same level of trust in us and aims to become the most trusted police service in the world. Lower levels of trust create challenges to keeping Londoners safe whether it is a reluctance to share information, to report crime, or to support our work to tackle violence.
Our job is to protect all of London’s communities and to do so with professionalism and empathy. Some of the most serious violent crime on our streets, often involving knives and guns, affects some communities more than others. Complex and societal reasons for this have meant this has been the case for far too long.
We are working with London Mayor Sadiq Khan and his team, in respect of the Action Plan published today, to further boost our ongoing work.
We want the best people who can police London through their understanding of the city and local issues. We know there are benefits to focusing our recruitment efforts in London, so from Friday, 13th November, we will be re-implementing the London residency requirement for most entry routes to join us as a police officer.
Today, half of all Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic police officers in England and Wales – over 5,000, work in the Met. We have nearly 2,000 Special Constables of whom about 31% are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities and over 4,500 volunteer police cadets of which more than 43% are also from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities. There are also nearly 10,000 police staff colleagues of whom over 26% are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities.
We want these numbers to increase further and have an ambition for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic officers to make up 40% of all Met officers recruited from 2022. In addition, our ambition is to also increase the overall number of black officers in the Met and continue building on the success we have seen through our Outreach Recruitment Programme to encourage more black Londoners to consider a career in policing.
We also want more Black and Minority Ethnic sergeants and inspectors in the Met, and we want to build on the progress we have already made in eradicating disproportionality in our promotion processes through successful initiatives such as our positive action workshops for black officers. Ring-fenced funding of £400,000 from the Mayor will be used to support our work in this area further and to strengthen the career development support given to black officers so they are well-equipped and as well-supported as possible in progressing their careers.
All Met officers know the highest standards are expected from them and our existing mandatory training for recruits on racism awareness, diversity and inclusivity reinforces this. Our new officers are supported to help them understand different communities and cultures, as well as unconscious bias and the context of policing in London. Our new recruits will spend a proportion of their initial learning understanding the history of the local area they will police, including learning the cultural history, lived experiences and the challenges the communities have faced. In addition, an investment of £1m per year from the Mayor will allow us to incorporate direct community input into their training.
Reducing violent crime is the Met’s number one priority and stop and search is one of a number of important powers which help us to prevent violence and take weapons and drugs off the streets. But we also know that it can be contentious. We are refreshing our stop and search training so our new recruits will spend time understanding the importance of cultural awareness and the impact the power has on communities - specifically black communities. This will include scenario-based role play where officers and community members will be put into each other’s shoes.
Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “I want the Met to be the most trusted police service in the world. We have made a lot of progress over many years, but there is much more to be done. I have been committed to this work throughout my service as a police officer and that commitment is as strong as ever.
“I recognise trust in the Met is still too low in some black communities, as is their trust in many other institutions. I feel very sorry about that. It is something I have worked to change and I commit now to stepping up that work further.
“My top two operational priorities are reducing violence and increasing public confidence in the Met, particularly the confidence of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities. Actions are more important than words and, as I have said before, we can do more and we will.
“The Met is not free of discrimination, racism or bias. I have always acknowledged that and do now again. In the Met we have zero tolerance of racism. My job is to continue to try to eliminate any such racism and discrimination, however it appears.
“I am committed to redoubling our efforts to deliver a better service for, and with, black Londoners, to doing all we can to help them be safe, and to increase their trust in us.
“The Met already has so many brilliant black officers and staff, enjoying and contributing to a wide variety of roles. I want to increase their numbers and ensure that they all really thrive, together with all our colleagues, in a healthy and inclusive workplace.
“I am sure that will be good for all Londoners and it will help us achieve our mission of making the Met the most trusted police service in the world. We have a lot more to do, and I am excited about leading further change.”
In addition to the above:
The Met has reinstated access by Community Monitoring Groups to body worn video.
Academic research is to be undertaken of a sample of body worn video footage to understand better the nature of stop and search interactions and the behaviour factors of officers or individuals that lead to escalation in the use of force.
We will ensure our recruits spend time learning the history of the local area they will police, including learning the cultural history, experiences and the challenges. This will be supplemented by a local Community Immersion Project.
Officer safety training for new recruits will be centred on de-escalation and have involvement from representatives from black communities.
We will build on the outreach recruitment work with additional Youth Engagement Officers who will work with London schools, to encourage more young black people to join us.
We will bring together hundreds of recruits and established officers in community led workshops with black communities.
We will continue working with Middlesex University to develop a cultural awareness toolkit for Met officers and staff that includes the principles behind procedural justice.
An extended statement by Commissioner Cressida Dick is available via the link below