BAME Communities: Stop and Search — [Albert Owen in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:56 am on 23rd May 2018.

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Photo of Naseem Shah Naseem Shah Labour, Bradford West 10:56 am, 23rd May 2018

Thank you, Mr Owen, for again calling me to speak.

I thank all the right hon. and hon. Members who have contributed to this debate: Philip Davies; my hon. Friends the Members for Ealing Central and Acton (Dr Huq) and for Manchester, Gorton (Afzal Khan); our shadow Home Secretary, my right hon. Friend Ms Abbott; and Martyn Day.

I will address a couple of the issues that have been raised. My neighbouring MP, the hon. Member for Shipley, talked about valuing our police. I do value the police. It is in that vein that I sit on the Home Affairs Committee and that I am part of a national roundtable led by Chief Constable Boucher, which looks at diversity on behalf of the National Police Chiefs’ Council. It is in that vein that I am committed to the police. The hon. Gentleman and I share the same chief superintendent, Scott Bisset, and I have extensive and very good relationships with my local police force. I have full confidence in Chief Superintendent Bisset’s attempts to create a diverse workforce in the police.

Talking about a diverse workforce, what my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing Central and Acton said today was really important. We do not have a diverse workforce, despite the figures that the hon. Member for Shipley quoted earlier. The truth remains that we are far from having a reflective workforce. A reflective workforce would benefit the police.

This debate was never about telling the police how to do their job; it is about supporting the police. True leadership consists of two things—challenging and supporting. If we are to are to be real critical friends to the police, we must both challenge and support them in delivering the objective of keeping our communities safe. This debate is about making our communities safer.

Every study that has piloted unconscious bias training has shown a direct correlation between a change of attitude, a change in crime and a change in the nature of how we police, so that it is better for our communities. That is what this debate is about; it was never about hammering the police and having a pop at them. Unfortunately, it has gone that way, which disheartens me.

I thank the Minister for agreeing that policing is about intelligence and relationships. We build relationships with communities not just by attending the funerals but by attending the weddings, too. It is about building relationships between the police and their communities, and that is not done by creating an experience for a child, which will sit their mind, of being searched just because they happen to be black or just because their pigment colour is a few shades darker than that of other people, which shows them that they do not belong, they do not matter and they are not protected. That is what this very important debate today has been about, and I thank you, Mr Owen, for your chairmanship and all the Members who have contributed to it.

Question put and agreed to.


That this House
has considered the effect of police stop and search powers on BAME communities.