West Yorkshire Police launched a Police Race Action Plan in November 2023. It is a plan to improve policing for Black people in West Yorkshire.
We know we have much to do to build the trust and confidence of Black communities, after years of Black people being over-policed and under-protected. The Police Race Action Plan will address our policies and practices which disadvantage Black people, and help to ensure Black people feel seen, understood, safe, and better supported by our police service.
We will be providing an update on the progress we make on the plan, including any further learnings, every three months over the next year. This report provides our first update since the plan was launched.
November 2023 – January 2024 update
Workstream one: Ensure Black communities feel represented by a police service which is representative of the community it serves.
- All 10,000+ police officers and staff are undertaking a two-day cultural awareness training programme about Black culture and the history of Black people in Britain. The course has been developed with an external training provider and includes presenters from the Black community sharing their lived experience.
- We have established a Black Heritage Advisory Group within our police service. Made up of Black police officers and staff, the group exists to advise, inform, and have impact on policies, processes, and decisions that affect them within the workplace.
- We have expanded our pay gap report to also report on the pay difference between officers and staff based on their ethnicity.
Workstream two: Black people are not over-policed, by a police service that is fair, respectful, and equitable in its actions.
- Our District Continuous Improvement Teams are reviewing the body camera footage of every Stop and Search of a Black person. They are reviewing the footage to ensure the officer is following the newly formed CARE principles:
- C – Communication. Did the officer communicate effectively with the person being searched?
- A – Acting professionally. Was the officer professional in the way they conducted themselves?
- R – Respectful. Did the officer remain respectful?
- E – Explanation. Did the officer explain the reasons and grounds for the Stop and Search?
- We have developed a survey which is provided via a QR code to every person who is stopped and searched, to give them an opportunity to feed back about their experience.
Workstream three: Black people are involved, with a police service which routinely engages the Black community in its decision-making processes.
- We held two community Race Action Plan launch events in Leeds and Huddersfield, and a community event in Chapeltown, Leeds, where Chief Constable John Robins apologised for the unfair way in which West Yorkshire Police has policed Black people. We gained insight from the community during these events and will be incorporating their feedback into a revised version of our Police Race Action Plan in early 2024.
- We also held a community engagement in Harehills, Leeds, where we explained the work of our Professional Standards Department (PSD). This is the department which assesses any complaints made about police officers and staff.
- We have had continued success with our Independent Scrutiny and Advisory Group (ISaAG) who were instrumental in the planning of our Cultural Awareness Training. The ISaAG have also influenced the recent change to our promotion process, where candidates being investigated for misconduct can no longer be substantively promoted.
Workstream four: Black people are protected, by a police service which is anti-racist and which seeks justice for Black victims.
- We have developed a new digital tool which allows us to see where Black victims of crime reside and identify any crime trends within geographical areas. This tool will also allow us to identify areas in which we can improve our service to Black victims of crime.
- We have increased our engagement with West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the Violence Reduction Unit.
What’s next? Over the next three months our focus will be to create a new Stop and Search training programme, improve our support to Black officers who are victim to hate crime, and develop an action plan based on the findings of a recent national ‘Our Black Workforce’ survey, which was conducted to better understand the challenges faced by Black police officers and staff. Following feedback from community members at our launch events late last year, we are also working on a revised version of the plan, which includes more of a focus on working with young people, to build their trust and confidence in our police service.
If you require further details about the plan, are interested in joining our Independent Scrutiny and Advisory Group (ISaAG), or require copies of printed materials to help promote and explain the Police Race Action Plan to communities, then please visit www.westyorkshire.police.uk/race-action-plan