MAC0056

Written evidence submitted by the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service (MAC0056)

 

I write to follow up commitments I made at the committee session on 11th May to provide further information on a number of issues. At the committee's request, this is the first of two letters. This letter focuses on the Met's continued work to diversify our workforce and increase Community Confidence in the Met. The second will focus on Police Conduct and Complaints.

As you know increasing Community Confidence, particularly the confidence of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, in the Met is one of my personal priorities as Commissioner. We have made significant progress over the past twelve months, but we know that there is more to do. To demonstrate the scale and pace of this work I would highlight the following key strands of work.

Workforce

              We are making progress in achieving even greater levels of representation in our police officers. The MPS has over 8,000 Black, Asian and Minority ethnic officers and police staff. This is over 18% of the total workforce of circa 44,000. Over 2,300 of these officers and staff are black. At the end of the financial year (20/21 ), the Met employed 32,531 officers. Of those, 9,265 (28.5%) are female, 5,086 (15.6%) are Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, and 1,160 (3.6%) are Black. Over the last ten years, that is a 65% increase in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic officers and a 36% increase in black officers. The Met proudly continues to employee half of all Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic police officers in England and Wales.

              In November 2020 we reintroduced the London Residency requirement for police recruitment, and we have also set stretching new workforce diversity aspirations.

-              With effective outreach, our positive action strategy and our Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement Strategy, our aspiration is that by April 2022, 40% of all officer recruitment intakes are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. We also have a specific aspiration that from April this year, 8% of all officer recruitment intakes will be from Black backgrounds. These are aspirational and we are committed to doing all we can to achieve them within the challenging timescales we have set.

-              In the last financial year (20/21 ), the Met recruited 2,438 police officers, of which 37.46%were female, 18.87% were Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic and 4.27% were Black. In this financial year (21/22), we will grow by a further 1,344 officers and recruit circa 3,000 officers overall. As we move towards the aspirations noted above, from this April we aspire for 40%of these new recruits to be female, 30% of these new recruits will be Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, and at least 8% will be Black.

              We are continuing to undertake significant work to transform our recruitment processes, developing a new selection assessment centre, and working to embed our Outreach Recruitment Programme to encourage more Black Londoners to consider a career in policing.

              We continue to lead work in partnership with the College of Policing, NPCC and Home Office to understand and address the continuing apparent disproportionality in the outcomes for Black, Asian and Minority Ethic candidates in police recruitment processes. This includes specific focus on the College's new online assessment centre, which uses specially trained community members in addition to police officers and staff to assess candidates. This has reduced the disproportionate outcomes observed, but we are continuing to develop our systems and processes, recognising that removing disproportionality in selection outcomes will be crucial to achieving our highly stretching diversity ambitions.

              We are not just focused on recruitment. Ensuring increasing diversity in more senior ranks is essential too. We now have 621 Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic officers at the rank of Sergeant and above, an increase of 8% from 573 last year. We have eradicated almost all disproportionality in our promotion processes, which means that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic officers are just as likely to succeed through the process. We want to encourage even more Black, Asian and Minority ethnic officers to apply for promotion or lateral progression. We have in place a substantial programme of work to encourage and support colleagues from under-represented groups, such as career development services and leadership development, so they are as well-equipped and as well-supported as possible in progressing their careers. In our most recent Chief Inspector promotion process for example, the eligible pool was 1,028 officers, 22% female, 9% Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic. At the conclusion of the process, 162 officers were selected, 27% female and 15% Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic.

Community Confidence

              Our new recruits spend a proportion of their initial learning understanding the history of the local area they will police, by learning - including through community input - the cultural history, experiences and challenges the communities have faced. They also all complete a community familiarisation project as they start in their operational roles.

              We are extending our outreach recruitment work by establishing dedicated teams of officers in every BCU to build confidence in policing as a career for all. We will also use our Youth Engagement Officers who will work with London schools, to encourage more young Black people to join the Met.

              We have reinstated access by Community Monitoring Groups to Body Worn Video, having had to pause this due to a decision by the Information Commissioner's Office.

              We have published[1] the findings of the review into pre-arrest handcuffing in the MPS and are working to embed its recommendations.

              We commissioned Middlesex University to develop a cultural awareness toolkit and associated training materials.

              We are working to develop a 'Handbook of Engagement', which will further improve joint working with our communities.

              We have created a new Learning and Development Communities Reference Group, ensuring that our communities are more closely involved in the design of our training and development programmes.

These projects are just some of the many Community Confidence related projects that are led by the Deputy Commissioner's Delivery Group. This group is tasked with working with all parts of the Met to ensure the successful delivery of this work. We report on this work regularly to the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.

MPS Recruitment

I know you were also interested in how the Met uses the existing legislative framework to support our ambitions to improve even further the diversity of our workforce. We consider the arguments for using the equal merit provision on an intake by intake basis (as required by the legislation). The use of this framework has clearly helped us to increase the proportion of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic officers joining the Met in the short term.

However, we have argued strongly that consideration should urgently be given to temporarily lifting for the remaining years of the officer uplift programme - the Equality Act's Section 159( 4b) restriction, which deals with the issue of treating persons who share the protected characteristic more favourably with recruitment or promotion than persons who do not share it, where person A is as qualified as person B to be recruited or promoted. Lifting the restriction reflects the specific requirements within policing to address workforce under-representation, and would allow a police employer to apply with confidence existing legislative provisions to positively discriminate in favour of the under-represented but equally qualified candidate.

In practice, this would strengthen the permissive policy framework that would allow policing to create recruitment intakes that reflect the communities they serve by, for example, accelerating applications from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates through selection processes (putting beyond doubt the ability to apply the S 159 equal merit provisions in volume recruitment). This proposal does not change the standards for police recruitment, which continue to be set by the College of Policing, and only candidates who exceed this minimum standard can be appointed. would welcome your support in advocating for this change to be made, and if you or any committee member would like to explore this or related matters, Met Chief of Corporate Services Robin Wilkinson and HR Director Clare Davies would be very happy to meet you.

Stop and Search

As the committee will be aware, there have been two reports relating to Stop and Search recently that have made recommendations; one by the IOPC and one by HMICFRS. In both cases the Met has accepted all the recommendations. The Met is committed to ensuring that every stop and search encounter is conducted professionally, with respect and courtesy. Stop and Search remains a vital tool for the Met and policing more widely. In March in London, it led to 460 weapon seizures including 32 Rambo knives, 10 Zombie knives, 17 Machetes, 3 Swords, 4 Firearms and 2 Tasers.

We continue to listen to and respond to the concerns of Londoners in our use of Stop and Search. We are working directly with our communities and involving them in developing our training. This training develops de-escalation and communication skills for our officers and ensures that we are treating everyone with courtesy.

As you may know the use of Body Worn Video (BWV) is mandatory for all officers for stop and search and use of force incidents. There are a small number of occasions when it might not be possible, appropriate or proportionate to record an encounter. In these cases the reason must be recorded and justified in the record of the incident. Our stop and searches are also rightly subject to scrutiny by Community Monitoring Group, whose continuous feedback helps us make further improvements. These groups are able to view BWV footage as part of their work.

In addition, in early 2020 the MPS introduced a central Use of Force Oversight Group which is chaired by a Deputy Assistant Commissioner. This group meets every two weeks and reviews a sample of BWV footage. This group includes community members, MOPAC and the IOPC. The group disseminates learning and ensures that any officers whose behaviour falls below acceptable standards is held to account. In addition, as part of our normal supervision arrangements supervisors are required to undertake regular checks of BWV and the search records of their teams. We are also seeking to make better use of technology to make it easier to pick up concerns earlier. Following the pre-arrest handcuffing review that reported last year, we are also developing a specific policy on handcuffing pre-arrest that will set out clear guidance for officers.

Finally, we were pleased that the HMICFRS report highlighted the MPS 'A Different View' interactive scenario-based exercise that has been rolled out across the MPS. We use this training with our community monitoring groups and have embedded it into our training for new recruits. This training programme was also recognised with a Princess Royal Training Award last year. We would be pleased to host a session for the committee if this would be of interest.

May 2021


[1] https://resources.mynewsdesk.com/image/upload/t attachment/fllpszfkqwkjznwe3fxi.pdf