Police Race Action Plan - Accessible Version

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Chief Constable John Robins QPM DL
Chief Constable John Robins QPM DL

Foreword

Chief Constable John Robins:

Our Police Race Action Plan strategy sets out the strategic direction and the commitment of West Yorkshire Police to improve policing for Black people within the communities of West Yorkshire.

The Police Race Action Plan has been developed jointly by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the College of Policing, with input from stakeholders, including the National Black Police Association, the Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Board, and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.

The plan aims to address the significantly lower levels of trust and confidence among some Black people and the race disparities affecting Black people that policing cannot currently fully explain.
 
Policing has a difficult history in its relationships with Black communities. Reports such as the Scarman report into the 1981 riots and the Macpherson report into the 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence were watershed moments in facing up to racism in policing. The Baroness Casey review into the Metropolitan Police will also have a broader impact on public confidence within policing.

The plan is critical to the success of future policing nationally. It is also something to which we are wholly committed, given the richly diverse make up of our communities and specifically, the considerable number of Black communities we serve.

Racism still exists within policing, and we must face up to the stark figures that show something isn’t right and needs fixing.

Confidence in the police is 20% lower in Black Caribbean communities than the national average.

Black people in West Yorkshire are 2.9 times more likely to be stopped and searched and 2.4 times more likely to be subject to the use of force compared to white people.

We are still not a representative workforce of the communities we serve. In West Yorkshire, Black people make up 2.1% of our communities, yet only 1.2% of our workforce are Black or Black heritage.

It is important to understand what has led us to this point, which is why a greater understanding of Black history is one of the action points in this plan, but racial disparity is not just about historic moments in time, such as the Windrush generation or Black Lives Matter movement.
 
Black colleagues and members of our community are victims of racism and discrimination every day, whether through malice or ignorance. The Our Black Workforce Survey has taught us that Black officers and staff leave the force earlier than their white counterparts for a variety of reasons, including being subjected to repeated hate crime and discrimination.
 
Our plan on a page sets out how we will deliver on the five core commitments that the plan sets out.

Our ambition is that the Police Race Action plan will become the golden thread throughout all activities we deliver, from recruitment and retention of officers and staff to protecting the vulnerable, and whilst we are using the powers that the office of constable bestows upon us. By ensuring we are treating everyone in line with our values of Fairness, Integrity and Respect we will improve policing for not only Black communities but for all communities within West Yorkshire.

John Robins QPM DL
Chief Constable
October 2023

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Introduction

The NPCC & College of Policing Police Race Action Plan was released in May 2022. It sets out the commitment of all Chief Constables in England and Wales to become an anti-racist police service and to explain or reform race disparities.

The plan aims to address the significantly lower levels of trust and confidence among some Black people and the race disparities affecting Black people that policing cannot currently fully explain.

The full plan can be accessed here. NPCC Police Race Action Plan  (external site, this links to PDF that may not be fully accessible)

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Vision

A police service that is anti-racist and trusted by Black people.

The plan seeks to create an anti-racist culture, values, and behaviours within policing. This will inform all operational policing practice, improving the experience and outcomes for Black people. It will enable the experiences of Black communities, officers, and staff to have a direct influence on our policies and practices going forward.

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 and ensuring that we become an anti-racist organisation. The College of Policing in consultation with forces around the country have developed the following anti-racist principles which we will adopt throughout our work in West Yorkshire.

  • Acknowledge that racism exists, challenge ourselves, and be willing to change.
  • Act with courage, take responsibility, and call out racism.
  • Prioritise anti-racism work and take a zero-tolerance approach to racism.
  • Commit to build capacity, capability, and the cognition to be anti-racist - pursuing an organisational and procedural justice approach.
  • Involve Black people and embrace scrutiny; nothing done for us without us. 
  • Seek to understand community trauma and recognise the burden on those with lived experience.

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National Police Race Action Plan

There are 5 core commitments set out to achieve delivery of the plan. They are:

  1. Zero tolerance of racism in policing.
  2. Policing will adopt an ‘explain or reform’ approach to address the negative impact and outcomes experienced by Black people.
  3. Policing will ensure that officers and staff understand the history of policing Black people and the ongoing impact and trauma of disproportionality.
  4. The development of a representative workforce.
  5. Policing will increase the involvement of Black communities in its work and improve support to Black victims of crime.

These core commitments will be delivered through the actions set out in the four workstreams within the plan. They are:

  1. Black people and communities are properly represented within policing, with an internal culture that promotes inclusivity and supports their development and progression.
  2. Black people and communities are not over-policed and treated in a fair and equitable way.
  3. Black people and communities are routinely involved in the governance of policing.
  4. Black people are not under-protected and properly supported as victims of crime and as vulnerable groups.

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Strategic Aims

As a Force we are committed to delivering the Race Action Plan in line with nationally agreed timescales.

West Yorkshire Police’s delivery of the plan will see each of the workstreams led by a senior officer/staff member with a Chief Inspector as overall delivery lead and a Chief Superintendent as Force lead. The structure is contained in Appendix A.

 

Workstream 1 - Internal Culture and Inclusivity

Creating a police service that is representative of Black communities and supports its Black and Black heritage officers and staff.

 

Mandatory Cultural Awareness training to include Black history and its connection to policing

Create and deliver a bespoke Black history and anti-racism curriculum that exceeds the College of Policing minimum requirements and focuses on West Yorkshire Police history, experiences and lessons learnt. Delivered in conjunction with external partners and community members providing lived experience. Mandatory for all officers and staff.

Develop a reverse mentoring scheme to be available to all officers and staff.

 

Improve recruitment, retention, and progression of Black and Black heritage people

Review the representation of Black and Black heritage officers, staff, and community members on interview panels.

Review the current positive action initiatives available to officers and staff that measurably improve recruitment and progression of Black and Black heritage officers and staff.

Through the newly formed West Yorkshire Black Heritage Advisory Group (BHAG) develop a process for understanding the experience of Black and Black heritage officers and staff at milestones within their career to increase retention and ultimately, positively impact recruitment and progression.

Increase overall representation from 1.2% for officers and staff, paying attention to specialist departments that are particularly underrepresented. 

 

Address racial disparities through pay gap reporting and force surveys to capture experiences of our Black and Black heritage workforce

Develop mechanisms to gauge an understanding of our Black & Black heritage workforce lived experiences within our Force. This will include involvement of the Black Heritage Advisor Group (BHAG), Black Police Association (BPA) the Caribbean and African Police Society (CAPS) and Force surveys. Annual evaluation and publication of the findings will be common practice.

Include annual ethnicity pay gap reporting along with gender pay gap reporting ensuring recommendations for improvement are highlighted.

Review of Black and Black heritage leavers to understand reasons for leaving policing to further develop a proactive retention policy for officers and staff.

 

Address racial disparities in misconduct and disciplinary processes and ensure anti-racism practice informs the Professional Standards Department

Develop fair and equitable misconduct and complaints processes from initial assessment through to investigation and outcome. Ensure that Professional Standards Department (PSD) Scrutiny panel is fully representative of our workforce.

Develop a policy allowing staff networks representatives to observe misconduct hearings or meetings and ensure representation within the Misconduct Cadre.

 

Enhance the support given to all officers and staff who experience, or report hate crime from any source

Review the current support available, ensure the new 8-point plan for officers and staff who are victims of hate crime is fit for purpose and all supervisors have the knowledge to deal with and understand the trauma associated by repeat victimisation.

Develop an understanding of the trauma experienced by those subjected to repeated hate crimes to impact on retention of our Black workforce.

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Workstream 2 - Use of Powers 

Creating a police service that is fair, respectful, and equitable in its actions towards Black and Black heritage people and communities.

 

Develop an approach to identify and tackle racial disparities in the use of police powers

Portfolio leads to actively use available data to identify and tackle disproportionality in the use of police powers.

Develop and embed high quality internal scrutiny and assurance processes to identify and tackle disproportionality in the use of police powers, to include stop and search/S60, use of force/Taser, S163 Road Traffic Act (RTA) stops.

Ensure transparency in complaints processes by providing evidence of intervention and challenge on staff behaviour.

Annually assess the forces compliance with all use of police powers Authorised Professional Practice (APP) and ensure transparency in reporting the findings.

 

Promote consistent recording, analysis, monitoring, and publication of data on police powers to tackle disparities

Establish and maintain high-quality analytical products around use of police powers including S163, use of force/taser, stop and search/S60, young persons and custody.

Establish and maintain regular and accessible outward-facing communication products relating to police powers and their scrutiny.

Adopt an annual publication scheme to show what officers are being trained on in relation to the use of police powers.

Implement the recording of all vehicles stopped under section 163 of the RTA.

 

Strengthen governance of the use of powers through effective supervision and community scrutiny of police interaction

Develop clear and consistent community scrutiny processes across policing to include sharing of good practice and maximising opportunities for communities to learn about the use of police powers.

Develop processes to learn from those affected by use of police powers to reform officer behaviour through improvement of training products to include lived experience from community members.

Explore the benefits of rapid review of use of powers with communities to inform and change tactics for live operations.

Increase transparency of the data we collect with regards to use of police powers and share with relevant stakeholders.

 

Improve the knowledge and skills of all officers on the use of powers, lawfulness, proportionality, and necessity

Training and Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for officers at all ranks that goes beyond procedural or lawfulness, focusing on fairness and respect, including legitimate use, decision making, communication, effective de-escalation, cultural impact, and trauma.

Identify knowledge gaps among community scrutineers and deliver products and strategies to equip and inform their scrutiny of the lawfulness, proportionality, and necessity of police powers.

 

Assess the impact of digital forensics on Black and Black heritage people to eliminate unconscious bias or discriminatory practices

Be prepared for and implement the NPCC publication and scrutiny standards in relation to upcoming digital forensics (biometric data, facial recognition, and artificial intelligence).

Develop data and analytical reporting mechanisms for oversight of all relevant race disparity metrics across relevant workstreams.

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Workstream 3 - Community Engagement and Relations

Creating a police service that routinely involves Black and Black heritage people and communities in its governance.

 

Improving and building the evidence base on effective community engagement, sharing and piloting innovative approaches

Map, present and inform community engagement pathways throughout West Yorkshire, accounting for the reasons, benefits, and products of consultation.

Improve and communicate engagement opportunities with young people and under 30s to listen and respond to the demographic most directly impacted by policing powers.

Listen and respond to people who have lived experience of policing and use their feedback to drive improvements.

Improve and publish the representativeness of our network of community engagement pathways, such as the Independent Scrutiny and Advisory Group (ISaAG), Independent Advisory Groups (IAGs), and Scrutiny Panels.

 

Assess the impact of neighbourhood policing on community confidence and strategic engagement conducted by West Yorkshire Police

Understand the impact of neighbourhood policing activity on community confidence, tackle service gaps and share learning about good practices.

Seek and use feedback on neighbourhood policing performance and engagement from the ISaAG, IAG network, including youth IAGs, and community scrutiny panels.

Establish and sustain a format for engaging Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPTs) and Violence Reduction Unit to coordinate their activities in the community.

 

Develop a framework for improving trust between policing and Black communities based on evidence and good practice.

Effective utilisation of ISaAG, IAGs to understand the concerns of local Black communities, reconciling policing practices with community needs. This will have a focus on the experience of young people within communities.

Publish details of ways in which Black communities, especially young people, can engage with the police including recruitment.

Listen to people with lived experience of police interaction and measure their response to the steps we are taking for reconciliation. The focus will be on young people who have lived experience, considering their views on the progress made within the plan.

Publish examples of good practices between local policing with Black communities in West Yorkshire.

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Workstream 4 - Not under-protected

Delivering a police service that effectively protects Black people and communities from crime and seeks justice for them.

 

Address any disproportionality in our response to vulnerable groups within Black communities

Embedded partnership working with Mayor’s Office, Local Authorities, Health Care Providers and third sector organisations to support more effective intervention in cases of heightened vulnerability, such as exploitation and mental health.

Effective measures to prevent and respond to concerns, especially with regard to repeat missing persons, from Black communities.

A measurable reduction in the harm caused by crime and disorder to Black communities.

 

Local crime prevention and deterrence to reduce victimisation and improve outcomes for Black communities

Effective delivery of neighbourhood level engagement and support for young people from Black communities.

Develop analytical products to understand the crimes that disproportionately affect Black communities.

Develop a framework of crime reduction in areas highlighted as vulnerable through analysis of data down to ward level.

 

Establish a Black mentoring scheme where mentors from Black communities’ work with senior officers and staff

Identify potential mentors from Black communities outside of policing.

Establish a support program and framework to develop community mentors and maintain a sustainable mentoring program.

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Police Race Action Plan and young people

The role of young people in improving policing for Black communities is vital. We have already witnessed how ideas from young people within West Yorkshire can inform policy and processes to improve policing through the introduction of the Stop and Search QR code implementation. Building on these foundations to improve trust and confidence within Black communities for the future is a key element of this strategy.

Improving policing for young Black people will be a key ambition for West Yorkshire Police. To achieve this, we will:

  • Develop and publish literature about the Race Action Plan and updates on the work we are completing aimed specifically at young people.
  • Implement a youth version of the Independent Scrutiny and Advisory Group to ensure the voice of young people is amplified.
  • Increase engagement with schools, colleges and universities within West Yorkshire to understand the sentiment of young Black people within education towards policing.
  • Endeavour to engage with young Black people who would normally avoid interactions with policing. This will ensure that those disproportionately affected by the use of police powers have a voice which allows us to understand the trauma of over-policing young people.
  • Work towards West Yorkshire Police being seen as an employer of choice for young Black people. 
     

How does the Police Race Action Plan meet the Force objectives?

The Police Race Action Plan links into the Force Ambitions of the Operational Policing Strategy 2020 – 2025 contained within ‘Our Purpose. What we want to achieve.’

Our three Policing Purposes of Reducing Crime, Protecting Vulnerable People and Reassuring the Public, will ensure that every action we take within the plan is working towards improving the lives of Black people within West Yorkshire.

Through knowledge of our Policing Strategy, the reasons for the Police Race Action Plan and an understanding of racial disparities within policing including the history of policing Black communities, we will ensure a better service for Black and other ethnic minority communities in all areas of policing.

We will deliver these actions with the values-based culture set out within the Policing Strategy: Fairness, Integrity and Respect.

 

Performance Measures - How will we measure success?

Success will be measured in a similar way to the Policing Strategy. By measuring disparity within our Force outcomes, we will be able to ascertain how the work to achieve the plan is progressing. This means an understanding of our baseline figures for disparity to consistently measure the outcomes for Black people in all areas of policing.

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Governance

We are absolutely committed locally to deliver the plan for the Black communities of West Yorkshire. To this end we have a governance structure in place which is overseen by the Diversity, Equality, Inclusion, and Inequalities Board. See Appendix B.

 

Gold - DEI & Inequalities Board

Chaired by Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) People. This meeting will direct the overall delivery of the project alongside the Diversity, Equality & Inclusion (DEI) agenda. Any policy change or amendment will receive approval from the DEI Board.

 

Silver - Inequalities Tactical Delivery Group

This meeting will be chaired by the Force Lead and will ensure that the project is on track through quarterly updates from each workstream. This meeting will report to the DEII Board where appropriate. The membership will consist of: -

  • Force Lead - Chair
  • Project Lead
  • Workstream Leads (DEI Team covered here)
  • District Leads
  • Departmental Leads
  • Force Performance
  • West Yorkshire Police Black Police Association Chair or representative

 

Bronze - Workstream Leads Group and District & Department Race Action Plan Groups

 

Workstream Leads Group

This meeting will ensure that Workstream Leads have the support required to further work under their specific area of the plan. The Project Lead will ensure that regular updates are submitted onto the West Yorkshire Police  Action Plan to track work progress against National timelines. The membership will consist of: -

  • Force Lead - Chair
  • Project Lead
  • Workstream Leads

 

District and Department Race Action Plan Groups

Each district and department will require the formation of a group to deliver local actions. Once Force structures are in place actions from each of the workstreams will filter to these groups to ensure that the plan is embedded within core policing.

 

National Working Groups

The Project Lead along with Workstream Leads will contribute to national working groups and update meetings to ensure we are in line with national timelines and project delivery. This will also ensure that innovation from West Yorkshire Police is presented nationally, informing national processes and policies.

 

Appendix A

Force Lead: Chief Superintendent Richard Close
Delivery Lead: Chief Inspector Darren Beech
Staff Networks: Black Police Association, Caribbean and African Police Society and Black Heritage Advisory Group
Workstream one – Represented: Ben Metcalf, DEI Manager
Workstream two – Not over-policed: Superintendent Shelley Slarke, Local Policing
Workstream three – Involved: Detective Superintendent Tanya Wilkins and Bev Adams, Principal Engagement Officer
Workstream four – Not under-protected: Chief Inspector Alan Travis, Criminal Justice System

 

Appendix B

Gold DEI Board: Assistant Chief Constable Sarah Baker
Silver Inequalities Tactical Delivery Group: Chief Superintendent Richard Close
Bronze Workstream Leads Meeting: Chief Inspector Darren Beech 

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Page last reviewed November 2023