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Written evidence submitted by Jade Ella Scott [MAC0046]

[Note: This evidence has been redacted by the Committee. Text in square brackets has been inserted where text has been redacted.]

It is now twenty one years since the Macpherson Report was published.  What do you think has changed in that time?

  1. In my view things haven’t changed.  This is a poignant time, when people are more willing to discuss these issues following the murder of George Floyd, and the Black Lives Matter protests, but I have been racially profiled, though I have done nothing wrong, and I have had encounters with the police.

 

  1. Shortly after I bought my house in 2004 someone kicked open the door of the house next door, at about midnight.  I called the police – I was having a dinner party - and when they came they questioned me and my guests about what we were doing.

 

  1. When my daughter was a baby and we were out as a family the police approached my husband and asked where he was going.  I challenged them, and the police said he looked like somebody; I said ‘you mean, he looks like a Black man’.  More recently, my [relative] was stopped outside the house while [they were] delivering food during the lockdown. My [other relative] went out and the police pushed [them] to the floor.  The neighbours went out and the police officer pepper sprayed them all.  We can’t move on while these things are happening.

 

  1. I have a positive relationship with the police professionally as a social worker but as a citizen I do not.  I shouldn’t have to explain what I do to get their respect. I don’t see many changes since 21 years ago.

 

  1. Black people don’t often make complaints.  When candid conversations happen between Black adults, they will tell you about when they were first stop and searched.  This is a conversation that happens within the group.

 

  1. People say that policing in the UK is better than America but though the police here don’t carry guns the harassment is still the same.  Issues of racism are never addressed within this country.  Having a conversation about racism, as a victim, is to minimise your experience so you’re not accused of ‘using the race card’.

 

  1. It is a problem that police officers don’t live in or work in BAME communities.  They come in with preconceived ideas.  There’s a need to change these ideas and how people think. Senior police officers such as Cressida Dick still say that Black people are criminals and drug dealers.  These stereotypes are damaging.  People would far more easily believe that I am a single mother or benefit claimant than the truth, that I am a social worker.

 

  1. There needs to be a radical overhaul of police training.  As part of their training, social workers have to do one hundred days of community work with young people, old people or in mental health.  There needs to be a closer understanding between the police and community workers, we’re all professionals sharing the same space.

 

  1. Bridges need to be built to encourage Black people to join the police.  I wanted to join CID but I couldn’t, because I knew how I would be perceived and how I would be expected to police in BAME communities. 
  2. An audit of career progression, disciplinary processes and retention for BAME police officers would show that it’s not that great.  This is true of many services other than the police, which would show the same outcomes.  You would find most are quite poor.

 

  1. The question is, how to address that?  It’s the same with stop and search.  The outcome, that you’re more likely to be stopped if you’re Black, is known but nothing ever changes.  Black families are preparing their children to be stopped and searched.  Stop and search is meant to be intelligence led but it’s not being intelligence led when the police target social workers and care workers.

 

  1. Our social history in this country has always had groups of young people, some of whom misbehave.  The real root of the problem is austerity, and children who are hungry.  This is a UK-wide problem.  As a social worker I know that poor outcomes for children are a direct repercussion of austerity.

 

  1. If the Government put money into the beginning of the story, with the youngest children, through Sure Start and children’s centres, they would do more to address the problem of youth violence than is achieved by stopping and searching. When young people are involved in gangs it pushes back to poverty.

 

  1. Targeting in stop and search is exactly the same as it was twenty one years ago.  What has changed is that everyone’s a reporter now, people can record on their phones and then it goes viral. The use of force is just the same, but it is now recorded more. Handcuffs, spit hoods, Taser and pepper spray are all used regardless of the presentation of the person.

 

  1. People who do not have this lived experience should not be claiming things are better. There’s still a belief BAME people are criminals.  I watched a retired police officer on television just last week reeling off stereotypes about Black people.  I even meet Black families who repeat these stereotypes because they have internalised them. It’s not surprising if someone from a predominantly white background joins the police and is sent to a predominantly BAME area, that they react as they do.

 

  1. For the future I want to know what active changes are going to be made, and what resources will be put in?  How will it look to me when a police officer pulls me over, how will that be different? 

 

  1. I don’t want a policy change, I want an experience change.

 

  1. You shouldn’t be anxious to have a police car behind you.  You shouldn’t be anxious to contact the police if you’re a victim. Lived experience is the thing that should change.

August 2020