Created in partnership with Black community groups across the region, the plan sets out a range of actions for West Yorkshire Police to deliver, which aims to create a police service which is anti-racist and trusted by Black people.
Actions include explaining or reforming the racial disparity in use of police powers, such as stop and search, developing a more effective response to reports of hate crime against Black people, and educating their 10,000+ workforce on Black culture.
The five-year plan is a localised version of the national Police Race Action Plan, developed jointly in May 2022 by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), the National Black Police Association (NBPA) and the College of Policing.
Chief Constable for West Yorkshire Police, John Robins QPM DL is driving the plan forward for West Yorkshire. “We’ve developed the Police Race Action Plan with our Black colleagues and Black communities. It is for our Black colleagues and Black communities; however, it will make us more inclusive and fairer to all under-represented people in West Yorkshire.
We know we have so much more to do to build the trust and confidence of our Black communities. We accept that not enough has been done to eradicate discrimination, bias and racism from policing and from all public services in our society.
I am sorry for the way policing has treated black people across West Yorkshire in the past, I truly am. I cannot change the past, but I can change the future. I want us to become an anti-racist organisation. That is what the Police Race Action Plan is about.”
The plan is broken down into four workstreams which aim to help Black people feel represented, not over-policed, involved, and not under-protected.
Alison Lowe, the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime in West Yorkshire, and lead for Association of Police and Crime Commissioners on Race Disparity, Equality and Human Rights, said: “Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is at the heart of the Mayor’s Police and Crime Plan for a safe, just and inclusive West Yorkshire.
“As the public’s voice in policing, I, along with my fellow Police and Crime Commissioners recognise the critical importance of improving confidence and trust in policing amongst all of our communities – and in particular Black communities, where we know confidence is low.
That is why I welcome the fresh energy that is now being invested by Chief Constables, particularly in West Yorkshire, into a commitment to tackle the disparities faced by Black people in policing and criminal justice. And am pleased to be a part of this work being done locally and hope there will be widespread engagement to ensure the views of the diverse communities we serve are fully reflected.”
West Yorkshire Police has facilitated the creation of an Independent Scrutiny and Advisory Group, made up of members of the public who consult with the police about the plan, and who hold the police to account on its delivery.
Mark Morris is the Chair of the Scrutiny Group. Commenting on the plan, and the involvement of the Black community, Mark said: “The Police Race Action Plan is designed to systematically improve the trust and confidence people of Black heritage feel when they come into contact with or request support from the police. This change can be achieved and will be possible because the action plan focuses on understanding our lived experiences, increasing our representation and retention in the workforce and, vitally, implementing a zero-tolerance attitude to discrimination at every level within policing.”