‘Pockets of promising activity’, but it’s not enough says body scrutinising the Police Race Action Plan

The Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Board was appointed to provide external scrutiny of the Race Action Plan published by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the College of Policing in 2022. The Board, chaired by Abimbola Johnson, published its first year report and it contains seven thematic recommendations for ‘how policing can create a truly anti-racist service.’

The Board concluded that the structure of the current Plan needs reconfiguring to achieve anti-racist aims; it should introduce tangible success metrics, provide better administrative support and resources for coordinators as well as having a clear communications strategy.

The Plan was announced by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the College of Policing in June 2020 following the racist murder of George Floyd by a serving American police officer. Ms Johnson notes that while the Home Office is involved in the Plan, the programme not receive any funding from government to achieve its aims.

Launching the report, Ms Johnson said, “Policing is at an important inflection point where nothing less than a genuine commitment to anti-racism is acceptable to Black communities and wider society. Pockets of enthusiasm and action do exist within policing, but this now requires elevation across the police service and properly embedded into the fabric of the institution. A far more robust Race Action Plan and Programme can achieve this and deliver on the commitments made by the police three years ago.”

Responding to the publication of the report, National Police Chiefs’ Council Vice Char CC Rachel Swann confirmed that Commander Dr Alison Heydari had been appointed as the Plan’s Interim Programme Director. CC Swan said, “The views expressed in the report will influence the direction and development of the Plan and be considered in detail by Dr Heydari, Chief Constable Stephens and the central programme team.”

The seven themes include: restructuring the Plan; introducing tangible and enforceable performance metrics; identifying clear areas of focus; increasing engagement with external stakeholders; developing and delivering clear communications strategy; improving the flow of information to the Board; and providing adequate resourcing to the Plan.


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