Police race action plan faces racism claims from ethnic minority staff

The Police Race Action Plan, an initiative aimed at addressing racism within policing in England and Wales, is facing accusations of racism from some of its ethnic minority staff members. Launched in response to the murder of African-American George Floyd in 2020, the plan seeks to improve police relations with black communities. However, former staff members have told BBC Newsnight that their perspectives were disregarded during the plan’s development.

One anonymous black individual said they felt as if they were seen as “troublemakers or difficult” for providing their viewpoints. They also claimed to have been treated differently compared to their white colleagues, receiving less support when workloads increased. The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the College of Policing collaborated on the race action plan, which acknowledges and apologises for the presence of racism, discrimination, and bias within policing.

Chief Constable Gavin Stephens, the NPCC’s chairman and Police Race Action Plan lead, expressed his commitment to creating an anti-discrimination, anti-racist police service. However, the BBC has obtained documents detailing additional complaints from ethnic minority individuals involved with the programme. Some have questioned the plan’s credibility and intentions, while others felt their negative experiences were dismissed in favour of maintaining a positive outlook.

A former black team member stated that they were left “completely disillusioned” by the process. Andy George, president of the National Black Police Association (NBPA), revealed that some members his organisation supported felt marginalised and sidelined within the plan. In May, Deputy Chief Constable Tyron Joyce, the man responsible for the strategy, retired. Joyce, one of the most senior black officers in UK policing, had faced an unrelated bullying allegation at the unit.

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In a statement, NPCC chair Stephens said a refreshed action plan would be issued, emphasising that the police must be judged on action rather than words. While he was unaware of any official racism complaints or allegations, he expressed sadness at hearing the experiences detailed in the report and reiterated the need for change within policing.

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Jamie Cartwright

Jamie is a keen traveler, writer, and (English) teacher. A few years after finishing school in the East Mids, UK, he went traveling around South America and Asia. Several teaching and writing jobs, he found himself at The Thaiger where he mostly covers international news and events.

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