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London Police to Recruit 40% of Officers From Minority Backgrounds

LONDON — The London Metropolitan Police will aim to hire 40 percent of new recruits from Black, Asian and other minority backgrounds by 2022, Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Friday, the centerpiece of a sweeping effort to make the city’s police forces more representative as it tries to address accusations of racism and discriminatory practices against minorities.

The plan also calls for the Metropolitan Police to take other measures to counter discrimination and racism, including a review of all road traffic stops, after the force found that Black people were four times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched in their vehicles in London.

The police in London and cities around the world have come under increased scrutiny in recent months, and Mr. Khan said in an action plan that the Metropolitan Police should be more inclusive; work more closely with local communities; and gain the trust of minorities, who are treated differently than white Londoners.

Mr. Khan said in the report that the Black Lives Matter protests this summer had highlighted the need to change the performance and perceptions of public institutions, including the police.

“We must do more to improve Black Londoners’ trust and confidence in our police service, and ensure police powers don’t disproportionately impact them,” Mr. Khan said on Twitter.

In a rare public acknowledgment, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement on Friday that it recognized the pain felt by Black communities in London, and that it was “committed to eliminating the disproportionate use of force on Black Londoners.” Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, said that her forces were “not free from racism or discrimination.”

By recruiting 40 percent of new officers from ethnic minority backgrounds by 2022, the Metropolitan Police said the goal was for 16 percent of the force to be from minority backgrounds by 2022, and 28 percent by 2030. There are currently 5,000 officers from ethnic minority backgrounds of a total of 32,600, compared with 3,000 a decade ago.

The police force came under fire early this year for the discriminatory use of “stop and search” tactics, after a spike in their use was reported during the first coronavirus lockdown.

In July, the police apologized to Bianca Williams, a 26-year-old champion sprinter, and her partner, both of whom are Black, after they were detained while driving in West London with their toddler sitting in the back. They were handcuffed for 45 minutes while officers searched the vehicle. Nothing was found in the car.

Mr. Khan, who oversees the city’s police forces along with Britain’s interior minister, said that he had commissioned the action plan after the arrest of Ms. Williams, which prompted outrage.

The Metropolitan Police said in the action plan that it also would reintroduce a requirement that calls for recruits to live in London, and dedicate 300,000 pounds, or about $400,000, to efforts to encourage young Black Londoners to consider a career in the police.

Organizations that contributed to the action plan welcomed the announcement, but said they remained cautious about how changes would be enacted and the extent to which it would address the broader problems it identified.

“While the acknowledgment that historic and systemic racism has created a breakdown in trust between the police and Black Londoners is welcome, there is still much to be done,” said Ben Lindsay, the C.E.O. of Power the Fight, an organization that combats youth violence in Britain.