discriminatory policing under lockdown, updated

The Home Affairs Committee is currently taking evidence on policing and race, including the policing of the covid-19 lockdown, as part of its inquiry into The Macpherson Report: twenty-one years on. It heard from Liberty Investigates on 17 June 2020 that BAME people, including key workers, were over 50% more likely than white people to be fined by police for breaching the lockdown. Of 25 police forces studied, 18 showed disproportionate penalisation of BAME people who were 6.8 times more likely than white people to be fined in Cumbria, 4.4 times more likely in Avon & Somerset and Lincolnshire and 4.1 times more likely in Suffolk. The Liberty Investigates research had been reported by the Guardian on 26 May 2020. One case highlighted was that of two sisters (Shazia Zahieer and Tayyba Arif), members of the same household, who were fined while taking a short drive to Preston’s Riverside Docks to go for a walk after one of them, who suffers from anxiety and depression, was experiencing difficulties. They were fined by Lancashire Police while still in their car, for “purposely putting others at risk”, and despite explaining the circumstances. The fine was maintained until challenged by Bindmans on the sisters’ behalf. The Liberty Investigates report disclosed two incidents of taser use by police forces (the Met and the Greater Manchester forces) against Black men, one in front of the man’s “young, screaming son”, and a statement by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) that it was concerned “about disproportionate use of Taser against black people”. The Home Affairs Committee is accepting evidence until 30 June 2020.

On 22 June 2020 The Times reported that in May 2020 the Met Police carried out more stops and searches in May 2020 than it had for more than eight years. The number of stop and searches for May 2020 was 43,644 and for April was 30,816, compared with just over 19,000 in December 2019. The Times reported that the arrest rate in 2020 was half that in 2015, with more than 80% of stops in May 2020 resulting in no further action.