(POP0046)


 

 

Written evidence submitted by The National Association of Muslim Police (POP0046)

 

The remit of the National Association of Muslim Police (NAMP) is to work with police forces towards community cohesion and promoting fairness and equality for Muslim officers and staff within the police. We have therefore responded with this motivation in mind.

 

  1. Counter terrorism policing: Trust and confidence amongst Muslims both within policing and the community is extremely low due to several factors. Research conducted by NAMP has found that many issues relate to the delivery of the Prevent Programme and Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP).

 

A survey conducted by NAMP in 2020 found that the vast majority of respondents felt that Muslims are disproportionally targeted by Prevent. There were concerns raised regarding the under-representation of Muslims in CTP and a lack of understanding about Muslim practices and Islam by those working within Prevent. Many respondents felt Prevent in its current form does not effectively tackle radicalisation and that more could be done to engage with grassroot Muslim communities.

 

  1. Counter terrorism terminology: One of the main issues highlighted in our research was in relation to Counter Terrorism (CT) terminology and the use of terms such as ‘Islamist’ and ‘Islamism’ to describe extremist ideology akin to groups such as Daesh or Al-Qaeda. 85 per cent of Muslim police respondents and 92 per cent of Muslim community respondents believed that the use of such terminology had a direct link to Islamophobic sentiment, both within the police service as well as in our communities.

 

There is an overwhelming belief that this creates negative bias and stigma through associating Islam with extremism and singling out the term ‘Islam’ in a manner that is not consistent across other forms of extremism. Consequently, leaving many Muslims feeling marginalised, vulnerable and at a higher risk of hate crime and discrimination.

 

There are many individuals within the police service who are mindful of the terms they use and understand the negative impact it can have on trust and confidence, particularly in relation to terms around protected characteristics. However, the use of these CT terms remains the official approach and widely used, causing barriers between the Muslim community and the police service.

 

 

  1. Faith Engagement Officers: Several police forces such as West Yorkshire Police and Northamptonshire Police have dedicated Faith Engagement Officers. This has helped significantly in building bridges with the Muslim community and other faith groups, playing a vital role in building trust and confidence. NAMP advocate for dedicated Faith Engagement Officers to be used more widely in policing. This provides the faith community with an avenue to voice concerns and have open dialogue.

 

  1. Standardisation in dealing with discrimination: Within policing, a more stringent approach to Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred should be adopted. In relation to discrimination matters in general, there is inconsistency in how police forces deal with these matters. A more standardised and robust approach is needed. This will ensure that officers and staff feel safe in the workplace and that the community can be confident that any inappropriate behaviour will be dealt with accordingly and consistently.

 

  1. Greater representation: Representation of Muslims in policing is significantly low in comparison to community demographics. It is important that we aim to be representative of the communities we serve to ensure we represent all views and perspectives. Unfortunately, faith representation data recording is incomplete and extremely poor. Police forces need to be held to account to ensure they are capturing this data in the most effective way. This will help to identify areas of underrepresentation and potential barriers. With the Police National Uplift Programme coming to an end early next year, forces are unlikely to place emphasis on diverse recruitment going forward.

 

  1. Police staff networks: Police staff networks play an important part in relation to the welfare needs of officers and staff. Some police forces recognise the benefit of staff networks and have officers or staff fully seconded into these associations. This helps the networks significantly grow and in turn aids the police force in relation to attraction, development and retention of that particular minority group. This however is not standardised practice for all police forces. Duty time allocated and funding can also vary too. More attention should be given to these networks in general that support the needs of officers and staff from underrepresented groups.

 

We believe that considering the above points will serve to improve the police service and better the relationship with officers and staff and the communities.

Trust and confidence will improve as people from faith communities see progressive action being taken.

 

October 2022