[MAC0023]

 

WRITTEN EVIDENCE SUBMITTED BY NOTTINGHAMSHIRE CHIEF CONSTABLE CRAIG GUILDFORD AND NOTTINGHAMSHIRE POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER PADDY TIPPING (MAC0023)

 

PROGRESS AND PROMISE IN CHALLENGING TIMES

 

  1. Nottinghamshire Police

 

1.1.   This evidence has been submitted by the Chief Constable and the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), informed by the knowledge and experiences of our officers and staff. We welcome this opportunity to share learning from our ongoing work to reduce disparities in policing outcomes and officer workforce representation, and strengthen relationships between the police and our Black, Asian and other Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.  We also offer our perspective on the impact of recent changes to police powers and practice. We trust that our observations will be of value to both the Select Committee’s Inquiry and the NPCC’s working group on racial inequalities in policing.

 

1.2.   Nottinghamshire Police serves a diverse geography, including a core city, former mining towns and remote rural communities. At least 11.2% of Nottinghamshire’s resident population are from BAME backgrounds[1], rising to 28.5% of Nottingham City. We see marked contrasts in terms of deprivation, age[2] and population density across the force area, all of which have a bearing on the nature and complexity of presenting service demand and our policing approachGiven these factors, we aspire to provide an intelligent policing approach that is sensitive and proportionate to the needs of our diverse communities and above all else, fair.

 

  1. Police and BAME Community Relations

 

2.1.   Like other core cities, Nottingham has its own history of racial and cultural tensions involving the police dating back to civil disorders in the 1950s, 1980’s and more recently post Tottenham in 2011. The murder of George Floyd has undoubtedly had a far reaching impact on trust and confidence in policing internationally. It is our sense, however, that while there remains much to do in Nottinghamshire, Police and BAME community relationships have maintained a strong and improving trajectory over the last year, bolstered by our long term strategies for improving engagement, inclusion and workforce diversity

 

2.2.   In 2012, Nottinghamshire’s PCC set a long-term ambition to improve BAME experiences of policing and the recruitment, retention and progression of BAME officers and staff. This is an operational and strategic priority for the Chief Constable. We are making strong progress in delivering against these ambitions, noting in particular:-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Stop and Search

 

3.1.   Nottinghamshire Police undertook 5,257 stop and searches in 2019/20, marking a 79% increase on levels recorded in 2018/19.  This was primarily driven by a focus on knife crime prevention and drug market disruption, influenced by local partner and OPCC survey work. This shift  helped to deliver marked improvements in proactive detections for possession of weapon offences (+20.5%), possession of drug offences (+41.6%) and trafficking in controlled drugs (+22.3%), whilst maintaining one of the lowest search rates per 1,000 population in the country.

 

3.2.   In our commitment to using these powers fairly, legally and appropriately, it is encouraging to note that despite increased use, the proportion of searches resulting in an arrest or other positive outcome has remained stable around 38% over recent years, compared to 20% in 2013/14.  The number of occasions in which a prohibited item linked to the purpose of the search was discovered has also remained stable (90.9%), while complaints relating to stop and search remain extremely rare[6].

 

3.3.   There have been steady long-term reductions in disproportionality in the use of stop and search over recent years. In 2017/18, the likelihood of BAME individuals being stopped and searched[7] was 4.2 times higher than of White in Nottinghamshire[8].  This fell to 3.7 times more likely in 2018/19 and 3.1 times more likely in 2019/20.  The disproportionality rate among those from Black backgrounds has fallen from 7.0 to 5.8 over the same period. While this represents a positive direction of travel, there is clearly still much more to do. 

 

3.4.   Of note, is that searches involving people from White backgrounds remain proportionally more likely to result in an arrest or other ‘positive outcome’ (41.9%) than searches involving the BAME population (37.8%) and in particular, people from Black backgrounds (33.9%). We are working to better understand the reasons for this as part of our scrutiny arrangements.

 

3.5.   The use of handcuffs in stop and search can be required on occasion, particularly when the individual presents a threat towards the officer or may cause danger to themselves or others. The proportion of searches involving the use of handcuffs fell from 30% to 23% in 2019/20 and by 10% among those from BAME backgrounds.  Despite these positive reductions, the use of handcuffing in searches remains disproportionately high among those from Asian (37%) and Black (37%) backgrounds. Again, this remains a clear area of focus for our organisation.  Positively the rate of non-compliant handcuffing (11%) in stop and searches remains broadly proportionate across all groups.

 

3.6.   The relaxation of restrictions on the use of Stop and Search under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 have had little overall impact in Nottinghamshire.  No s.60 stops were authorised by our force in 2019/20. Previous experience has shown the power to be effective in manging emerging risks relating to rival groups with the Nottingham area.  As such, we support their continuance and endorse the importance of externally scrutinised processes to ensure fairness and proportionality.

 

  1. Taser

 

4.1.   We have responded proportionately to government funding to increase national roll out of Taser. While increasing the proportion of officers with access to these devices, our overall levels of deployment fell by 33.7% in 2019/20[9], while the number of occasions in which a Taser was drawn, aimed or utilised in any way (384) fell by 8%Where ethnicity could be captured, around 19% of all Taser deployments involved individuals from BAME backgrounds in 2019/20, having fallen from 26% the previous year. In the city, in particular, deployments involving those from BAME backgrounds (35.8%) have approached parity with the area’s resident population profile. Strictly controlled, Taser is an excellent harm prevention tool.

 

  1. Safeguards and effective practice

 

5.1.   Our officers are trained to use force proportionately, lawfully and only when absolutely necessary. We never underestimate the impact that use of force and encounters of stop and search can have on individuals and communities.  We strive to maintain public confidence and police by consent, we must continue to demonstrate how we use these powers in a fair, effective and proportionate way.  For this reason, we have maintained a clear focus on:-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Officer Disciplinary: % of BAME Officers with ‘case to answer’ V % of BAME Officer workforce

 

Year

% of BAME Officers with a Case to Answer

% of police workforce from BAME backgrounds

2019

5.4%

5.8%

2018

0.0%

5.4%

2017

6.1%

4.7%

2016

15.0%

4.6%

 

 

 

 

  1. Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations

 

6.1.   We maintained a proportionate approach to enforcing the Covid19 Regulations with the Chief Constable chairing the LRF and police daily leadership via the SCG.  Education and explanation resulted in minimal enforcement, with Nottinghamshire maintaining one of the lowest levels of Fixed Penalty Notices issued.[11]

 

6.2.   Around 13% of FPNs issued during this period were issued to individuals from non-white backgrounds, which is broadly in line with the force’s demographic composition[12]. Less than 10 FPNs were issued to individuals from Black backgrounds in Nottinghamshire. The low numbers involved mean that caution should be exercised in drawing inferences as to the level and nature of disproportionality from this data set.

 

6.3.   Our observations in enforcing the restrictions, however, indicated some confusion among certain communities as to what was and was not permitted[13]. This facilitated a more nuanced approach having identified the more acute impact of restrictions among our most densely populated areas, particularly when compounded by higher levels of deprivation and complex need.  Our officers remained sensitive to these factors in enforcing the restrictions and found our communities to be largely supportive.  Relationships between the public and police were not adversely affected.

 

6.4.   This pragmatic and proportionate approach was exemplified by our policing of the Nottingham Black Lives Matter demonstration on 7 June 2020[14]. We publicly supported the aims of the event, engaged early, the venue was moved, and the event was facilitated without injury or arrest.

 

  1. Concluding comments

 

7.1.   We have made strong progress in reducing disproportionality in policing outcomes and increasing representation over recent years.  This has been underpinned by a thoughtful and intelligence-led approach to the use of coercive policing powers, transparent oversight and scrutiny processes and a demonstrable commitment to improving diversity, inclusion and community engagement from the top down and bottom up.

 

7.2.   While we feel confident that this positive direction of travel can be maintained, we recognise that much more still needs to be done.  Particular challenges remain in the recruitment, retention and promotion of officers and staff from Black backgrounds, achieving greater parity in the use of compliant handcuffing and mainstreaming unconscious bias training forcewide.

 

7.3.   We are committed to ensuring that the data we collect to inform our scrutiny and decision making is accurate and comparable.  We are cautious of drawing inferences from force level information without first understanding differences in the composition and needs of communities at a local level.  We should be cognisant of population change post 2011, and we must strive for greater national consistency in data reporting across all areas to maximise meaningful analysis.

 

 

June 2020

 

                                         

 

 

 

 

 


[1] The Census 2011 still being our most reliable local estimate

[2] The proportion of residents aged 18 to 24 in Nottingham stands at more than twice that of the county and England and Wales average.

[3] Nottinghamshire Police Peer Review, February 2020 found the forces Diversity and Inclusion planning to be a: “comprehensive and meticulously thought out piece of work built upon the strong foundations of the Community Cohesion work of the past 3 years and the highly engaged and capable networks of community members that have been established.  There are indications it will achieve a representative workforce in the next 2 years”

[4] Research and co-engagement activity to better understand the lived experiences of Nottinghamshire’s new and emerging communities, NTU, August 2019

[5] Robust and representative independent survey of public perceptions and experience of the police introduced by the PCC in July 2017

[6] Only 4 out of 3,023 searches resulted in a complaint in 2018/19

[7] Based on searches under s.1 of PACE and s23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act which account for around 80.4% of all stop and searches undertaken in Nottinghamshire

[8] Based on Census 2011 demographic profile

[9] From 3,549 to 2,352 Taser deployments

[10] Exploring and Improving BME Policing Experiences in Nottingham, July 2013:  “I look at my dad’s generation, they don’t like the police... my grandad don’t like the Police ... If you lot say you are going to train the police over 5 years, I’m still not going to really like the Police.  So it’s better that you try and help the next generation coming up.” (British Black Caribbean , Male, age 20, St Ann’s, in education)

[11] Provisional data: Fines issued during lockdown, NPCC: Nottinghamshire issued the 8th lowest number of COVID-19 related FPNs among all English forces between 27 March and 8 June 2020

[12] Excludes the 25.6% of cases for self-defined ethnicity was not disclosed / captured

[13] Virtual IAG held 12 May 2020

[14] Nick Glynn of Open Society Foundations in commenting on variations in policing approaches: “Attending BLM demonstration in Nottingham … the police were almost invisible and the protest was an excellent event. It was well run, it was well attended, people had their say and it went without any kind of incident”. HASC evidence session, 17 June 2020