Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach and Chief Constable Simon Cole have met local Black Lives Matter and Leicester Against Racism campaigners at a virtual meeting to discuss policing issues which impact on trust within the BAME community and understand how these challenges might be overcome in the future.
Both the PCC and Chief Constable were keen to offer support to anti-racism campaigners across the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, pledging to work in partnership to stamp out discrimination and social injustice. As part of this they agreed to share data more regularly to highlight the force’s progress in tackling disproportionality and improving diversity within the force.
They also agreed to host further meetings to sustain the positive relationships that had been built with campaigners and promote a partnership approach to tackling discrimination.
The meeting followed the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis which resulted in a global outpouring of grief and anger and fuelled demonstrations across the world, three of which were held peacefully in Leicester.
Willy Bach said: “I am fully behind the campaigners and their fight for justice. We’ve come a long way in society - and in policing – but there is so much more to do.
“It’s critical that we listen to our communities and both the Chief Constable and I are determined to do what we can to ensure everyone living in Leicestershire is treated equally and benefits from the same opportunities and support.
“The death of George Floyd impacts all of us and reminds us of how much harder we have to work to bring change. We must continue to listen to the voices which are underrepresented or unheard in our communities and work together to make a difference.
“I’m very grateful to the campaigners for their willingness to have an open and frank discussion about some of the main issues affecting trust of the police and look forward to further discussions in the future.”
Simon Cole, Chief Constable said: ‘’We always seek to work with local communities. We are keen to listen to what people have to say. We already do lots of work aimed at tackling disproportionality and inequality; we know that there is more to do. I am grateful to the PCC and the campaigners for this open discussion, which helps me to further understand the issues and to put things in place to make change happen.”
Latest figures show eight per cent of police officers in Leicestershire are from a BAME background while the figure is 14% for Police and Community Support Officers (PCSOs), 12% for Police Staff, 13% for Special Constables and 12% for Volunteers.
Currently, around a quarter of applications to join the force via the new degree programme come from the BAME community and applications through the Police Constable Apprenticeship route are similarly diverse.
Meanwhile, the use of Stop and Search across Leicestershire has fallen by more than 80% since 2010.
A total of 4,524 stop and searches were carried out in the 12 months ending February 2020. On a typical day, less than ten stop and searches are conducted across the force area and in broad terms this might include two people from the BAME community.
Stop and search figures are shared with the bi-monthly Coercive Powers Scrutiny Group – an independent body consisting of members of the public with representatives from the Police Advisory Group for Race and Equality (PAGRE), the PCC and youth representatives.
Leicestershire Police also operates a lay observer scheme whereby independent people can accompany officers out on patrol.
The force continues to treat hate crime seriously and has employed a dedicated hate crime officer to monitor trends.
Over the past 12 months 2,232 hate crimes were reported in Leicestershire of which 1,696 were classified as race hate. A positive outcome was recorded in 18% of cases – significantly above the rate for all crime at 11%.
Reports have increased from four or five a day to nine or ten a day and these figures include incidents in which BAME police officers are victims of racial abuse from the public.
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 07702 541401
Posted on Wednesday 24th June 2020