Police in schools should be monitored to see if they disproportionately target black children. The initiative is part of new measures agreed during negotiations between the Metropolitan Police and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
Under plans, the use of powers by officers at so-called safer schools in London, such as arrests, stops and searches, will be scrutinized to see if there is racial bias.
The measures are being touted by the mayor as a way to address the disproportionate use of police powers, which is more likely to affect black people, and to boost confidence in the London force.
It comes amid an expansion of officers in schools by the Met to more than 500, and mixed reactions from parents and teachers – some pushing for more, and others concerned about the criminalization of young people.
Concerns about policing in schools were heightened after fury at Child Q, when a teenage girl was left traumatized after she was strip searched by officers for drugs she didn’t have.
Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said progress had been made on his strength’s troubled running record, but added: “I know the Met has let people down, especially black Londoners.”
The new race action plan reveals that black people are seven times more likely to be stopped by the police because they are suspected of carrying weapons. This reveals a higher racial disproportion than for general stop and frisk, in which black people are just over three times more likely to be stopped than white people. Eight stops out of 10 do nothing.
Other measures include community panels reviewing footage from body cameras worn by officers to review instances where force is used. Khan is asking the government to change the law to make community control mandatory.
Rowley, who took office in September, has vowed to reform the Met and boost trust, which crumbled under his predecessor, Dame Cressida Dick.
He said: “Baroness Casey’s interim report has demonstrated that there is evidence of systemic bias in the Met. It is appalling that biases such as racism have impacted the public during police interactions. I am uncompromising in my determination to root out those who corrupt our integrity.
“Policing depends on public trust, and that especially applies to the police and black communities. Tragically, not only do these communities have some of the lowest levels of trust in the police, but they also suffer from some of the highest levels of crime – in particular the 12 times greater disproportion in the killing of young black men… We will not succeed only with trust and joint action between police and black communities.
The Home Affairs Committee made up of MPs from all parties has backed the presence of officers in schools amid concerns about knife crime among young people.
Remi Joseph-Salisbury, from the University of Manchester, whose research examines allegations of racism in education and the police, said: ‘It is often claimed that the police can play a softer, more nicer and more supportive in schools. The experiences of young people suggest that this is simply not what happens in schools with police officers.
“Since institutional racism and sexism go to the very heart of policing, what is needed is not some adjustments to the role of the police in schools, but the absolute withdrawal of the police schools and redistributing that funding to care and welfare. interventions, as determined by affected communities.”
The mayor has launched his action plan for running in 2020. The update, published on Monday, reveals that black confidence is still 15% lower than that of whites in London. Black people were also 20 percentage points less likely to think the police use stop and frisk fairly than white Londoners.
Ethnic minority officers make up 16.6% of the Met’s workforce, while 40% of Londoners are from ethnic minorities – a proportion that is set to rise.
The Met and Mayor’s new aspiration is for 21% of officers in the UK’s largest force to be from an ethnic minority background by 2024 and 28% by 2030. A target for 50% of new recruits to be women, and 40% from ethnic minorities, was announced last month.
Khan said: “It’s just not fair that black Londoners have less faith in our police service, and it’s something the new Met Commissioner and I are determined to improve together.
The plan does not mention the 1999 Macpherson Report, which concluded that the Met was plagued by “institutional racism”. Dick had denied that the conclusion still applied and Rowley does not accept the description.