A report looking into the use of police powers by the Greater Manchester Police force (GMP) has concluded that disproportionality still exists against minority communities, particularly within black communities.
The Achieving Race Equality Report, was commissioned by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to examine how the force uses its powers.
It highlights that disparities are evident across different communities and concludes the force needs to improve its representation within the organisation.
What did GMP’s race equality report say?
Stop & Search
People who are Black, African, Caribbean, Black British in Greater Manchester are 5.3 times more likely to have been stop and searched – less than the national average of 9.
27.5% of these stop and searches result in a positive criminal justice outcome of arrest, caution, summons, ‘khat’ or cannabis warning, a penalty notice for disorder, community resolution or restorative justice outcome. This is higher than 25.9% for White people.
People who are South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, includes mixed Asian) in Greater Manchester are 2.3 times more likely to have been stop and searched – higher than the national average of 2
32.9% of these stop and searches result in a positive criminal justice outcome – higher than 25.9% for White people.
Use of force
People who are Black, African, Caribbean, Black British in Greater Manchester are 4 times more likely to have had force used against them – less that the national average of 5.7.
People who are South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, includes mixed Asian) in Greater Manchester are less likely to have Force used against them.
People who are Black, African, Caribbean, Black British in Greater Manchester are 5.7 times more likely to have had Taser used against them – less that the national average of 9.
People who are Black, African, Caribbean, Black British in Greater Manchester are 2.8 times more likely to have been arrested.
Representation in the force
It also found that those who were Black, African, Caribbean, Black British were under represented in GMP’s workforce.
Since the publication of the report, the force’s Chief Constable Stephen Watson has had to deny claims that GMP is ‘institutionally racist’.
During a press conference, Elizabeth Cameron, Chair of the GMCA’s Race Equality Panel said things had gone beyond unconscious bias and turned into racism.
Community activist Professor Erinma Bell agrees.
Reacting to the report, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Greater Manchester Police is entering a new era and it needs to be one defined by greater openness and more accountability to the communities it serves.
“This report, which will be updated on a regular basis, is about starting a new conversation and rebuilding trust.
This report will cause concern in a number of communities in Greater Manchester and it is important that those concerns are addressed. That’s why I and the Deputy Mayor will continue to work closely with the Chief Constable and the GM Race Equality Panel that I set up to improve the situation.
“Today’s report gives us the opportunity to have open and honest conversations about what we need to do to ensure that communities are treated fairly while allowing our police to tackle crime and keep all of our communities safe.”
While the report agreed that “steady progress” has been made in terms of improving representation within GMP’s workforce, it concluded “there is still work to be done in this area”.
The scrutiny of GMP’s workforce data between March 2014 and March 2021 shows a significant improvement in increasing representation within the organisation.
This includes figures that show the number of police officers from Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities has doubled from 4.5% to 9% due in part to the significant investment by the force in strategic recruitment.
But it called for more to be done to improve representation throughout the rank structure, and also in terms of retention of staff from under-represented backgrounds.
It is a fact that clear disparities exist in and between communities.
Chief Constable Stephen Watson QPM
Chief Constable Stephen Watson QPM said, “It matters greatly that the GMP I lead is representative of all the communities of Greater Manchester, which means our workforce should reflect the population we serve.
“The positive action we have been taking in recruitment and the national Police Uplift programme gives us a great opportunity to recruit new officers who truly represent the diversity of Greater Manchester.”
“This report represents a significant amount of work, by both colleagues and key members of various Greater Manchester communities.
“However, I intend that this report not be seen or read in isolation. I have already reported on achieving race equality to the Greater Manchester Race Equality Panel, and been open and frank on the work we have to do to improve GMP with the implementation of a new Force Delivery Plan.
“We have much more to do with partners across Greater Manchester to understand the root causes of inequalities.
Earlier Dr Remi Joseph-Salisbury from the University of Manchester, spoke to Granada Reports presenter Gamal Fahnbulleh. He gave his reaction to the report’s findings.