The police force launched its action plan yesterday (May 24), and projects have already started Thames Valley Police states.
Specifically, Thames Valley Police is hoping to address the trust and confidence of its diverse communities, especially its Black communities, and any racial disparities in the service.
Recent analysis from National World found that black people were seven times as likely to be searched when Section 60 orders are enforced in the Thames Valley.
Thames Valley Police is devising a strategy based on the national Race Action Plan, from the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the College of Policing.
The national council which covers England and Wales is hoping to eradicate race disparities across the country that it could fully explain.
The plan defines anti-racism in policing as tackling racial disparities proactively, accepting them as problems whatever their cause because of the impact they have on Black people, Thames Valley Police advises.
The plan recognises a lot of work to address racism within policing is underway but, equally, discrimination and bias still exist.
Thames Valley Police states that racism, bias and discrimination are societal issues, which clearly go beyond policing.
But, policing must go further than being “not racist” and become an actively anti-racist organisation trusted by all.
Thames Valley Police has launched a survey which will enable anyone with expertise or an interest in race in policing to share their views and shape this project.
Thames Valley Police has released the following data:
Black people have significantly lower than average rates of confidence in their police force, 64% compared with an average of 74%. Among Black Caribbean people the rate is 54%. This is echoed across public services in the Government’s Inclusive Britain Report. Policing is behind almost every part of the public service as an employer of choice for Black people. Just 1.3% of police officers are Black, compared to 3.5% of the wider population and there have only been two Black officers who have reached the rank of Chief Constable or Assistant Commissioner in policing history.
The force listed the following as key actions for the plan:
Increasing the awareness and understanding of every officer and member of staff of anti-racism, Black history and its connection to policing through introduction of a mandatory programme of training for all police officers and staff. Trialling and testing methods for better enabling Black people to have their voices heard, raise concerns, work on solving problems in their community and provide feedback. Developing a new national approach to help forces tackle race disparities in their use of powers including traffic stops; stop and search, use of Taser and other types of force. Reducing racial disparities in misconduct and complaints processes and improving support to Black officers and staff.
Assistant Chief Constable Dennis Murray is leading the project in the Thames Valley.
“The service we provide to our communities and the environment we create for our people must be actively anti-racist, anti-discriminatory and inclusive for all. “Thames Valley Police is more inclusive, more diverse and more reflective of our communities than we have ever been, however we must not be complacent.
"We need to ensure we have a consistent approach that turns our intent into action in ensuring that Thames Valley Police is, and remains, an actively anti-discriminatory organisation.
“We are fully committed to the national Race Action Plan. While it focuses on Black communities, we recognise our Thames Valley communities are diverse and they are also affected by some of the same issues.
“Over the coming months, we will be reaching out to our seldom-heard communities and creating meaningful relationships to inform our work to improve the service we provide.”
A Thames Valley Police spokesman stated that Chief Constable Murray has worked tirelessly throughout his career to improve diversity in policing and to support officers and staff from Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority backgrounds.
Thames Valley Police has a Diversity and Inclusion Board to monitor the progress it is making on the plan.
In the Thames Valley a Positive Action and Engagement Team (PAET) has been set up to encourage people from minority backgrounds to consider a career with the police.
The force has active support groups for people from underrepresented backgrounds, including: Thames Valley Women’s Network and a recently launched Men’s Forum.
Another active network is SAME or the Support Association for Minority Ethnic staff.