Met to stop recording the ethnicity of drivers arrested by its agents | Police

The Metropolitan Police must stop recording the ethnicity of drivers who are stopped by officers, just as other police forces are beginning to do so, the Guardian has learned.

Police in England and Wales had not previously recorded the running of people arrested on the roads amid allegations that black drivers were harassed by officers.

In 2021, the Met was the first force to record a driver’s ethnicity as part of a pilot project. He agreed to do so under pressure from the Mayor of London as he plunged into crisis.

The details of this Met pilot program show some disproportionality, meaning black and Asian drivers were stopped at a higher rate than white British drivers, according to documents obtained by Liberty Investigates.

Relative to their share of the population, black people were 56 per cent more likely to be stopped than white Britons, the traffic driver analyzes.

The disproportion was much lower for traffic stops, compared to officers stopping and searching people in the street, with black people seven times more likely than white people to be targeted when on foot.

The documents show that when carrying out roadside checks, Met officers said they often did not know the ethnicity of the driver when deciding to exercise their powers.

Some officers, according to Met documents, felt that taping the drivers’ race was taking too long, taking an extra two minutes on average. Now Britain’s largest force will drop the program to identify potential racial bias.

But several other forces across the country are to start recording the ethnicity of drivers, and police chiefs hope all forces will join.

The National Council of Police Chiefs says it wants to close the racial gap in policing, which means a nearly 20% deficit in black communities’ trust in the police compared to the average.

The Met pilot followed a series of cases in 2020 when people were arrested and found innocent. This included athlete Bianca Williams and her partner, Ricardo dos Santos, who were handcuffed while their baby was in the car. Nothing illegal was found by officers, some of whom are now facing a disciplinary hearing.

Dos Santos told the Guardian that the Met should continue to log the data to avoid damaging public trust, adding: “Trust is already down; rather than taking a step forward, they take a step back. It makes people think there’s something to hide, because you wouldn’t want to stop doing it if there wasn’t something to hide.

Until now, the police had to register the ethnicity of people they stopped on foot in the street, which revealed the national disproportion.

A small driver in London in 2020 suggested black people were six times more likely to be caught driving than white people.

The latest pilot, much larger than the previous one, ran for six months from January 2021 to July 2021 with data for 7,556 stops collected.

Dr Krisztian Posch of University College London analyzed the data for the Guardian. It showed the biggest disproportion was for black people, who make up 13.5% of London’s population but accounted for 17.2% of stops during the pilot. Asians make up 19% of the population, but 21% of stops where people declared their ethnicity.

White Britons make up 37.8% of the capital’s population and 30.8% of stops, while other whites – which may include white Eastern Europeans – make up 18% of the population and 24% of stops during the pilot project.

The June 2022 Met document said of officers: “In most cases they couldn’t see who was driving the vehicle until it stopped.”

Collecting ethnic data is seen as a way to identify potential biases and root them out of public services.

Met figures show that 86.4% of those arrested were men and 13.5% were women.

A spokesperson for the National Police Chiefs Council said: ‘We have piloted Section 163 [of the Road Traffic Act] action under the Police Race Action Plan with five forces, and will pilot it with more forces in the coming months, with the aim of gathering the evidence needed to consider a national deployment.

Although given more than two working days to respond, the Met did not, and the Mayor of London’s spokesman said it was working to build confidence, adding: ‘The findings of the Pilot (June 2022), who reviewed road traffic stops by the Met p`Police, did not identify racial bias.

Habib Kadiri of StopWatch said the organization “finds it hard to believe that the effort to record ethnicity during vehicle stops is significantly greater than during street stops (given the time it takes to anyway to check car details).

“It is also insulting to the many drivers who are stopped either for no reason or for trivial traffic violations. Establishing racial disproportionality is not a matter of how inconvenient officers can be.

theguardian Gt

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button