Addressing issues which disproportionately impact Black communities is the best way to build trust and confidence
West Yorkshire Deputy Mayor Alison Lowe, the APCC's Lead on Equality, Diversity and Human Rights, writes:
Growing up in Leeds in the 1960s I knew that I was different. Not only was I a Black child living in a 4000-strong majority-White council estate in Seacroft, but my parents had also entered an interracial marriage; playing their part in paving the way for others to love whom they choose, today.
When my mum and dad (pictured) met, daily, direct racism was a common occurrence and victims of this crime had no recourse to justice from the police.
Today, hate crime is treated more seriously by police and the public but it remains a major issue for our communities. Official Home Office statistics released this week show that there were nearly 125,000 hate crimes in 2020/21: a 9% increase on the previous reporting period. Racially-motivated hate crime accounted for around three quarters of all reported offences.
Relationships between police and Black communities have traditionally been poor in the UK, with disparities in use of force, Tasers and stop and search being major contributors to this. Whilst initiatives such as the Police Uplift Programme seek to reduce the representation gap it is clear that action to address issues which disproportionately impact Black communities is the best way to build trust and confidence.
This is why, as Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime in West Yorkshire I will work with our force and the communities they serve to make our county “best in class” in relation to the way it deals with victims of hate crime (72% of who are BME) and the outcomes it delivers for the people we serve.
“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world but has not solved one yet” - Maya Angelou
It would be great to see Black History Month galvanising all PCCs and Deputy Mayors to create safer places for all their communities, starting with hate crime and – in time – ending with zero disparities in access, experience and outcomes for our most marginalised and vulnerable.