First race quality policing report due by end of summer

The first report on police powers used against people from black, asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds in Greater Manchester will be released by the end of the summer.

Regional leaders committed to providing race equality reports once every three months after George Floyd's death in police custody in the United States sparked global protests. 

Since then it was revealed that black people were three-and-a-half times more likely to have force used against them by Greater Manchester Police.

Figures from the Home Office for last year also show that black people were six times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people.

Deputy mayor Beverley Hughes says there is a ‘huge focus’ on scrutinising whether stop and search powers are being used disproportionately by GMP.

Ms Hughes told a press conference on Wednesday: “We have committed to collating these figures and developing that date so it tells a richer story.

“Whilst the focus has been on the police, which is completely understandable in the context, I would say to some extent the situation represents the huge inequalities that exist in our society for many groups of people.

“If you look at any organisation you’ll tend to find that BAME people, amongst other groups like disabled people, are not fairly represented.”

The number of BAME people working in GMP has increased from four per cent to nine per cent in the last four years, with over 16 per cent of new recruits coming from BAME communities.

But the force is ‘continually striving’ to address issues of diversity and proportionality, according to Ms Hughes.

Meanwhile the deputy mayor praised the behaviour of the 14,500 people who took part in the peaceful Black Lives Matter marches in Manchester over the weekend.

She added: “Compared to other parts of the country the whole event was facilitated here and it was very well managed.”

But when asked if such protests should be discouraged giving the disproportionate Covid-19 death rates amongst the BAME population, Ms Hughes said if people feel strongly about something they should be able to march.

She added: “Whilst we are in a very difficult situation it’s also clear that het risk of infection is much lower if you’re outside of people really try to respect the guidelines on keeping your distance from other people.”

Last week, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham had tried to deter people from taking part in the marches before they took place.

But he said that there was a ‘clash’ between the strength of public feeling towards the marches and the health risks – which are ‘both critically important to people’.

He said: “I’m a white man in my 50s and I don’t know how it feels to be somebody growing up who’s black in Moss Side, or someone in Oldham or Rochdale in a Bangladeshi community.

“In an ideal world we would not want people to gather but in the way things happened it was probably done as well as we could have hoped and we are grateful to the way people conducted themselves.”

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