In May 2020, the death of George Floyd in the United States led to protests worldwide. Here in the UK, it sparked protests led
by the Black Lives Matter movement and national debate about systemic racism, police use of force, stop and search and the wider disproportionality that continues to exist within the criminal justice system1.
The COVID-19 pandemic heightened social divides and exacerbated existing inequalities, whilst the enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions has tested public trust in authority, including the police2.
Increasing diversity in police forces goes to the heart of maintaining and building the public’s confidence in policing, underpinned by the principle of ‘policing by consent’3. Only 7.3% of the police officers in England and Wales are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds (as of March 2020), compared to 14% of the population4. A report by the Police Foundation5, published in January 2020, found that despite some improvements in overall diversity, “Black representation has barely increased” since 2007. Alongside this, data suggests that confidence in the police is falling in Black and Mixed Ethnicity communities6. This is a story that has to change.