Twenty one years after Macpherson Report, systemic racism in policing continues

The CJA has submitted a consultation response to the Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry ‘The Macpherson Report: Twenty years on’, arguing that ‘ethnic and racial disproportionality in the use of police powers continues and must be tackled urgently.’

We recognise the effort and hard work by the government and police forces to foster policies that meet the spirit of the Macpherson Report since its launch over 20 years ago. However, many challenges remain and are outlined in this submission.

In the 21 years that have passed since Sir William Macpherson lead the public inquiry, it is deeply troubling that systemic and institutional racism still persists within policing and the wider criminal justice system (CJS). As David Lammy’s review highlighted, black, Asian, and minority ethnic groups are still disproportionately represented throughout the CJS, from stop and search, to imprisonment, to deaths in custody as well as being more likely to have force used against them.

Despite progress which has been made in rebuilding relations between the police and black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities, we are concerned that changes over the past 12 months, in particular relating to s.60 stop and searches and COVID-19 police powers, could undo that positive work. Therefore, urgent action needs to be taken to reverse this and improve trust and confidence through better scrutiny, accountability, transparency and adherence to the letter and spirit of the Public Sector Equality Duty and Police Code of Ethics.

In this consultation response, we discuss:

  • Stop and search
  • The increase of police use of force, including Taser
  • The disproportionate use of COVID-19 powers
  • The lack of independent scrutiny of policing
  • The lack of representation in police forces

Read the consultation response, The Macpherson Report: Twenty one years on.