Scotland Yard plans to roll out a pilot training programme to help officers recognise unconscious bias in a bid to challenge prejudices about race.
The Evening Standard reports that all 32,000 officers are to expected be trained in how to spot signs of their own prejudices, in particular when using stop and search powers.
So far, all sergeants and inspectors in the Met have taken the course, which focuses on how officers handle encounters with the public.
The trial in six police forces was launched by the College of Policing last year and involved 600 officers. One group of officers took the course while another group did not and researchers are to examine their responses to see if the course had an impact on their approach to stop and searches.
During the one-day course, officers receive written descriptions of people and are shown film footage and photographs to gauge their instant reactions to members of the public.
The Met said it planned to roll out the training to all officers if the pilot was proved to have been successful.
A spokesman said: “The training is to enhance their awareness of any bias they may unwittingly hold, and therefore allow them to ensure that their actions are not influenced by any such bias.” The move comes as figures show that a third of all public complaints about Met officers referred to the Independent Police Complaints Authority involve race discrimination claims. However, the force points out that all serious allegations of racism are automatically referred to IPCC.
A snapshot of three months’ figures showed that the Met asked the IPCC to investigate 60 complaints made by members of the public between July 1 and September 30 last year. These included five claims of corruption, six of serious assault and two involving Tasers. The majority — 20 — included a complaint of race discrimination.
A further 73 potential misconduct cases were voluntarily passed to the IPCC by the Met. These included 11 deaths following police contact and 26 cases of serious injury, all incidents which are automatically referred to IPCC. Nine of these cases involved claims of corruption, two of race discrimination and one of homophobic discrimination.
IPCC figures show that it launched 23 independent investigations into the referrals, while 87 were allocated to the Met for investigation because they were considered less serious.
The Met said allegations of discriminatory behaviour made up less than three per cent of public complaints against officers and the number had fallen in recent years.
Met sources said: “The Met has made it clear that it will not tolerate discrimination in any form. Where allegations of discrimination are made, they are fully investigated and appropriate action taken.
“The Met acknowledges that it has to overcome a legacy of poor relations with some of London’s communities and this is not helped by the relatively few instances in which staff act in a discriminatory manner.
“However, it should be recognised that these incidents represent only a tiny proportion of the nearly 50,000 people employed by the MPS, who interact with the public millions of times every year.”@_jdavenport
Source: Evening Standard