Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville and Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, respond to the Independent Office for Police Conduct’s (IOPC) recent report into the use of stop and search, which details eleven ways that the Police can improve their use of stop and search powers to ensure that they are not disproportionately targeting Black men.

As representatives of our proud, diverse borough, we recognise the importance of tackling racism in everything that we do – but the systemic racism and injustices faced by Black people revealed in the IOPC’s report shows that much more needs to be done to eradicate the systemic racism that continues to plague our society. 

We’re deeply concerned by the significant failings revealed in this report, including the excessive use of handcuffs, inappropriate use of stop and search and failure to properly use body cameras. These failings, alongside the staggering finding that Black people are still nine times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people, leave us with no doubt as to how the disproportionate use of stop and search powers will have harmed and hurt Black people and created distrust in the police. Failing to deal with this will continue to have an impact on trust and confidence in the police, not just amongst specific communities or young people, but the borough as a whole.

We welcome the IOPC reports’ recommendations, which must now be implemented in full to tackle disproportionate policing and to help rebuild faith and trust in the police in all of our communities. 

The urgency of this work is further highlighted in youth-led monitoring group Hackney Account’s new report into Policing in Hackney, which shows us that local young Black men are more likely to be stopped and searched and to have police force used against them than their white counterparts. This is shameful and unacceptable, and significant reforms must now be made to ensure that our young people are not stereotyped and criminalised by institutions designed to protect them. 

Last week, council officers had further meetings with Police to discuss how we can work collectively to implement Account’s recommendations, including improving representation of those impacted by disproportionate policing in accountability groups to ensure that institutions are being effectively scrutinised and held to account.

We’ll also be speaking with the Police, IOPC and other partners on Monday (9 November) at the Living in Hackney Scrutiny Commission to ensure that swift improvements are made to the use of stop and search powers. However, we recognise that this is just one part of a deep systemic issue that affects all parts of our society, and we’re committed to doing everything we can to tackle it.

This year, we passed our ambitious Hackney’s Black Lives Matter motion, which commits the Council to being an anti-racist borough through a series of pledges to tackle systemic racism and inequality in the round. This includes a pioneering new Black History curriculum – developed by Hackney teachers and Council staff – which provides insight into the many untold and neglected stories that make up Britain’s history. 

We have also set up a Community Accountability Board as part of our Improving Outcomes for Young Black Men programme, which will give local Black African and Carribean people the opportunity to hold institutions to account on their progress in tackling racism and inequality. We look forward to working with the Board to help us better understand and tackle systemic racism in Hackney. 

We also look forward to announcing some of the initial recommendations from the Council’s community-led review into landmarks and the naming of public spaces in Hackney, which will help ensure that our diversity and history of fighting racism is reflected in our buildings, streets, parks and other public spaces in our borough. 

Our dynamic Black History Season 2020 programme is currently underway, featuring a range of online events – including a discussion about policing in Hackney with youth-led monitoring group Account and Hackney Archives. As part of the programme, we’ve also published a new map which charts Hackney’s rich history of African and Caribbean culture. 

However, celebrating our diverse history and culture is of course not just limited to one or two months – but an all-year round affair. We’re continuing to support the incredible contribution of the Windrush generation through our award-winning Windrush generations festival and the commissioning of the first permanent public sculptures in the UK to honour and celebrate the Windrush Generation. 

Despite this work, we recognise that more still needs to be done to build an equal society for everyone. We will continue working with the Police, Hackney Account, the Stop and Search Monitoring Group, and Hackney Young Futures Commission, and other partners across the borough to help us collectively tackle systemic racism and to improve outcomes for young Black men.

 

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