Most minority ethnic Britons no longer trust police, poll finds

Exclusive: YouGov survey shows eight-point drop in trust levels since last year

Nadine White
Tuesday 14 December 2021 10:22
<p>This comes after the home secretary, Priti Patel, revealed that recruitment of black police officers has been ‘stubbornly slow’. </p>

This comes after the home secretary, Priti Patel, revealed that recruitment of black police officers has been ‘stubbornly slow’.

Trust in police among minority ethnic Britons has dropped sharply in the past year – with most now no longer having faith in UK police forces, a survey has found.

A YouGov poll of minority ethnic Britons – shared exclusively with The Independent – shows a fall from 52 per cent having trust in police last year to 44 per cent now.

The figures are even lower among black respondents, dropping from 42 per cent to 37 per cent. These are substantially lower than among the wider public, 60 per cent of whom trust the police.

Since the summer of 2020 and the global resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, there has been greater focus on how national institutions, including the police, are addressing racism.

Abimbola Johnson, a barrister appointed by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) to scrutinise its race action plan, said black communities had been “overpoliced and over-criminalised”.

She said: “The drops in levels of trust are not only reflective of the disparate outcomes, but also the fact that responses by the police have often been defensive and even dismissive: for example, assertions that stop and search is an effective tool to tackle violent crime when the data shows that stops only find weapons in 2 per cent of searches and that it is predominantly used to capture drug possession.

“The aim of making policing anti-racist is right but it will not be easy. If policing is able to level up and reduce racial disparity in terms of outcomes for black people, it will only improve policing across the board.”

Views of unfair treatment are more common amongst black respondents, with three in four thinking that the police (75 per cent) and the criminal justice system (72 per cent) treat them less fairly than white people; these figures remain unchanged since last year.

General trust amongst ethnic minorities in other institutions also remains low, with even fewer trusting the UK government (33 per cent), the media (32 per cent) and large corporations (23 per cent).

The barrister Abimbola Johnson, chair of an independent scrutiny and oversight board that will work with the NPCC around a plan of action on race

The home secretary, Priti Patel, has revealed that recruitment of black police officers has been “stubbornly slow”, as she pledged to try to improve representation in the “top jobs”.

The proportion of officers in England and Wales who identify as black or Asian stands at 7.6 per cent, which is lower than their combined national percentage of the population, at 10.8 per cent.

“Our vision is for a police service that is anti-racist and trusted by black people; to achieve this, we must tackle racial disparities in policing proactively, to not exacerbate racial disparities that may exist elsewhere in society, and to be continually alive to issues of race and racism,” an NPCC spokesperson told The Independent.

There are substantially lower trust levels among minority ethnic groups than among the wider public, new research has found

“We know that trust and confidence levels within the black community are around 20 per cent lower than the white communities, and this has significantly damaged trust and confidence in our service. Rebuilding trust and ensuring policing is fair and just is our responsibility – an inclusive police service, drawing on the talents and trust of all communities, is better equipped to protect the public.”

The NPCC and the College of Policing, supported by its partners, have committed to deliver a plan of action on race that will be independently scrutinised and aims to deliver the changes needed to rebuild relationships with black communities, the NPCC spokesperson added.

Police forces across England and Wales have received a slew of negative coverage over the past year for issues relating to race discrimination.

The YouGov surveys were conducted between October 2020 and October 2021 with a sample size of 1,009 minority ethnic adults across Great Britain.

The nationally representative survey was of 1,729 adults across Great Britain.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in