LONDON: Metropolitan Police officers are four times more likely to use force against black people compared with the white population, new figures suggest. The Met used force 62,000 times in 2017-18 with more than a third of incidents involving black people.
Techniques such as verbal instructions and using firearms were recorded. The Met Police said: “The proportionate use offorce is essential in some circumstances to protect the public and often themselves from violence.” Police forces in Britain have been required keep a detailed record of each time an officer used force since 1 April 2017. According to the data, a black person in London is four times more likely than a white person to have force used against them by a Met Police officer, as a proportion of the population. London’s black population at the last census was 1,088,447.In 2017-18 the Met used force 22,989 times against black people. Based on population figures, the use of force was equivalent to once for every 50 black people in Greater London and once for every 200 of the white population.
This is higher than in other police forces covering large urban areas such as Greater Manchester and Merseyside. Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said the “disproportionate use of force is discriminatory”. She said: “These figures are truly shocking.The disproportionate use of force is clearly discriminatory. “This is not a recipe for good police-community relations The government should step in and demand that all forces publish this data. But, then it quickly needs an action plan to end it.”
The Home Office said government reforms in 2017 meant police across England and Wales now recorded the reason force was used and details about the person involved. A spokesman added: “Data on officers’ use of force will provide unprecedented transparency and accountability and, in the longer term, will also provide an evidence base to support the development of tactics, training and equipment to enhance the safety of all.” A Met Police spokesman said: “By collating this data in one place it will allow us to increase transparency, public confidence and improve police training. The collation of these figures is still in its early stages and, as this is new data, there are no previous benchmarks to compare it to. Officers have to, and have always had to, account for all uses of force, which must be proportionate, lawful and only used when necessary.”
Figures at a glance The Met Police recorded 62,153 use of force figures in 2017-18. Two thirds of incidents resulted in an arrest. White people were nearly twice as likely to be hospitalised than black people Under 5% of all use of force incidents led to an injury, the second lowest of all police forces Met officers were injured 3,315 times while carrying out use of force techniques, including 50 severe injuries.