Following the Metropolitan Police Force announcement that they will be piloting a system of recording the ethnicity of all people stopped in cars, details found here, I made the following statement:
I welcome the launch of this pilot, which campaigners have been calling for, for many years. It was a key commitment in the London Mayor’s Action Plan and I called for this after the video my stop went viral to help improve trust and confidence in the Metropolitan Police.
With apparently 5.5 million stops a year Black Londoners are rightly concerned that they are six times more likely to be stopped and searched in a car than a white person. I hope that this pilot will help us to analyse the data and address concerns about racial profiling by the Metropolitan Police.
It has been over twenty years since the MacPhearson report, which looked into the murder of Stephen Lawrence. The report recommended that all stops made by the police should be recorded including the reason for the stop, the outcome, and the self-defined ethnic identity of the person stopped.
Road Traffic Stops are a vital tool to keep Londoners safe. However, it’s implementation has a significant impact on community relations. It deserves the same level of scrutiny as any other police stop-and-search powers. We must acknowledge that it is an act that removes an individuals liberty and whether it is being concentrated on specific ethnic groups disproportionately.
I will continue to meet with the Brent Borough Commander, with key campaigners on the issue, to oversee the pilot and ensure that it is successful.
I have also written to the Home Secretary to ask her to extend the Codes of Practice supporting the Police & Criminal Evidence Act 1984 to include road traffic stops and to ensure that the Police collect and publish data on the ethnicity of vehicle drivers stopped under the Road Traffic Act 1988 as part of the Home Office Annual Data Requirement.
As Robert Peele, the founder of the Metropolitan Police, stated “The police are the public and the public are the police.” and only by ensuring we build trust in policing will it benefit the entire community as we ensure we make huge steps forward in rooting out all forms of institutional racism.
Regardless of the results, I hope that following this trial that this will be permanently adopted and rolled out nationwide.