Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

Trust Deficit Between the UK Police and Communities


Trust Deficit Between the UK Police and Communities

The recent debates on trust deficit between the UK police and communities, the police way of conducting some recent operations, racism, discrimination and search and stop under the Counter Terrorism Act 2000, raised many questions. Communities complain about the inactive presence and invisible participation of police in streets and towns and demand that delivering policing—whether in form of force or service should not be based on discrimination.

The day to day increasing distrust between communities and the police are matter of great concern not only for the government in power but for the Home Office and policing improvement agency as well. A new image of the London police appeared after the recent riots is considered to be contradictory as the police demonstrated inconsiderably.

Among all Asian and Africans ethnic groups, majority of their members have reservation about the police behaviour and they dare hardly to report crime to the police as they understand that police has shown no specific interest in resolving their issues in the past. They are now thinking on the line that police is only for the white people.

For example, they complain that in many occasions the police favoured whites instead of tackling an incident impartially. Home Office is trying to establish the fact that citizens' involvement in policing has become a central element in its reform agenda, but the story here is different.

Citizens and the police department are thinking adversely. A report in 2010 found that fifty percent of Muslims across the UK believe that racism has spread to all sections of society in the past several years. Pakistani, Indian, Afghani, Bangladeshi, Somali, Sudanese and other black and white colours feel they are loyal British citizens but police treat them in a racial way. They complain that police often targets ethnic minorities with a specific behaviour which later on causes a lot of misunderstanding between communities and the police.

The above mentioned misunderstanding and trust deficit between the police and community are considered to be a bigger challenge not only for Home Office, Policing Improvement Agency but for the National City Community and Police Relations Commission as well. These trust deficits cannot be understood unless the constraints on both sides are thoroughly explored.

Researcher Marshall Carter supports my perception of police-community relations in these words: "What the police and community think and feel about each other reflect their own past experience and the images transmitted through friends, education, the media and popular stereotypes".

Another aspect of citizens complaints is that police has often responded to unrests in a non-professional way which is not acceptable in any way. In response to all complaints of minority communities, police complains that minority groups never thought to mix their colours within British society and regret that multiculturalism has made no specific progress.

They stress the need that all communities are to be encouraged to mix. Institute of Applied Social Studies in Birmingham University recently completed a research paper which suggests the establishment of good relationships between the police and local community members, and stresses the need on police information sharing with community.

The issue of policing and police community relations in Britain is very complicated. Some recent news stories of police involvement in corruption cases, phone hacking, its contradictory role after the London riots and racism further transmogrified its image.

The police criminal justice system is under fire due to the increasing number of prison population, unrest within the Prison System and deaths in custody. There are different police authorities in Britain and each one is comprised of 17 members, nine councilors, three magistrates and five independent members, but this is not clear how much they are effective in maintaining law and order.

The police Act of 1964 gives the police more powers which the police never tried to use effectively. Crime and Disorder Act of 1998 deals with crime and disorder but crime is in increase and police is under fire. Local government Act of 1999 ordered the police to achieve best value in delivering policing in communities, but unfortunately police has not been able to achieve best value.

The Race Relations Act (2000) is related to race equality and public access to policing information, but in spite of all these legal restrictions, instructions and responsibilities, no specific improvement occurred in the police way of tackling community problems and maintaining law and order management.

Police administration has never been able to closely observe diversity, colours and their ethnic relations. But Metropolitan Police Service deny these allegations and says that it is committed on working collaboratively with communities, boroughs and partners to identify effective solutions to serious crime problems.

The increasing power of criminal mafia groups, the deep rooted black market economy, the presence of 400 war criminals of different ethnicities, unemployment, poverty, the prevailing criminal culture in society, the failure of multiculturalism, racism and trust deficit between the police and community are considered to be greater challenges for the British police administration. Population terrorism and the invasion of illiterate armies from Asian and European continents has irritated Home Secretary Theresa May that how can her administration tackle this irregular invasion. She is considering professional way to tackle this and other law and order issues.

Home Secretary now stressed the need on police reforms which is clearly indicative of her inner pain regarding the police failure in restoring the confidence of business community. Home Office, police and research institutions have carried out innumerable surveys to find out professional ways for bringing about social concordance and harmony to British society, but all these efforts proved less fruitful. The recent consultation paper (Policing in the 21st Century: Reconnecting police and people) proposed the introduction of elected police and crime commissioners.

This proposal was supported by the government. In response to the proposal, government promised to elect individuals who will over see the check and balance system. Policing and Criminal Justice Minister, Nick Herbert has recently launched a public consultation campaign on the future of police leadership. Speaking about the new consultation he said; "In challenging times we need strong and focused leadership in the police."

The writer is author of Afghanistan Beyond 2014 and Punjabi Taliban. He can be reached at: zai.musakhan222@gmail.com

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