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GLA calls for Met officers to get unconcious bias training

Greater London Assembly members say all Metropolitan Police officers should be trained in recognising unconscious bias.
Published - 04/09/2020 By - Chris Smith

Greater London Assembly members said Met officers needed training and refresher courses to improve BAME relations.

Their concerns followed a series of incidents over the summer where stop and search incidents had been posted on social media.

Siân Berry of the Green Party, said: “The police as a service is failing if the public don’t trust their officers and don’t trust they will be treated fairly.

“We’ve had some very high profile incidents of Black Londoners being stopped and searched in upsetting and humiliating ways, and this is against a backdrop of harsher policing tactics being used disproportionately against Black communities.

“There is a problem in the Metropolitan Police Service, from individual officers to strategic policies, but at the very least, everyone working for the police should have this basic training.”

Assembly members called on Mayor Sadiq Khan to make this a priority using his powers through the Mayor's Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC).

Unmesh Desai, Labour member and Chair of the Police and Crime Committee said: “The events of the last few months have thrown the urgent need to tackle racism in both its overt and systemic forms into sharp relief. 

“It has been encouraging to see the Met make significant progress in requiring its officers to undergo regular unconscious bias training. Going forward, it is important that the Mayor plays his part to ensure that this good work continues, and that this training is extended to cover all of the Met’s ranks.”

The National Black Police Association has already called for forces across the country to improve training – and for the College of policing to issue new advice.

President-elect Andy George, in his first interview with Police Oracle said there had been no sharing of best practice, no standardisation and no leadership to push it.

He says: “That’s the problem with racism and policing at the moment, there isn’t an overarching approach from the College of Policing or the NPCC to drive consistency across all forces. We don’t mean for things to go wrong but we’ve been continuing with the policies and process that do a disservice to the BAME community.”

He added: “I’m not against stop and search. It needs to be more targeted and staff still need training.”

The Met recently commissioned an academic from Middlesex University to produce a "cultural awareness toolkit" to educate officers about the communities they serve. 

The diversity awareness training will be created with the help of Stephen Lawrence's brother, Stuart Lawrence, to improve understanding of the different cultures in London and help tackle any "trust issues". 

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