More than half of those who answered the survey also say that the police has a problem with Islamophobia (52%) compared to 26% who think they do not.
A majority of voters in the UK believe that the police have a problem with racism, an exclusive poll for LFF has found.
The poll was carried out by Savanta: ComRes and asked voters to what extent they thought that the police in general have a problem with racism, with 63% of respondents saying they thought the police have a problem with racism, compared to 23% who believe they do not.
When it came to age, 72% of those aged 65 and over say they believe the police have a problem with racism, as do 66% of 18-24 year olds. Concerns over racism in the police are particularly high among those living in London, with 70% saying they think the police have a problem with racism, compared to 52% of those living in the West Midlands.
When it comes to party affiliation, 73% of Labour voters think that the police have a problem with racism, compared to 58% of Conservative voters.
Black people are nine times more likely to be stopped and searched by police than white people, official figures for England and Wales show. A total of 577,054 stops were carried out across England in 2019-20, with 76% leading to no further action.
Black people were 18 times more likely to be stopped under section 60, under which no reasonable suspicion is required.
The data for arrests from 2019-20, also shows that black people were more than three times more likely to be detained than white people, and BAME people more than one and a half times more likely.
More than half of those who answered the survey also say that the police has a problem with Islamophobia (52%) compared to 26% who think they do not. 58% of those aged 18-24 years old say that the police have a problem with Islamophobia, compared with 40% of those aged between 55-64 years old.
Concerns over Islamophobia in the police were particularly high among Lib Dem and Labour Party voters (64%) each, compared to 48% of Conservative Party voters.
Responding to the survey findings, Habib Kadiri, Research and policy manager at StopWatch UK said: “The figures hint at a growing unease with the lip service police pay towards tackling crime while policing Black and Brown bodies as a form of social control.
“We observe this in our work with people from marginalised communities who are subjected to overpolicing, and in the racial disproportionality of police stop and search practices.
“The survey findings will come as no surprise to anyone who has witnessed how street policing affects those communities. We are painfully aware of the fact that the actions of the most violent policing units in the country are driven by deeply entrenched stereotypes of who Black and Brown people are and what they do.”
A spokesperson for MCB said: “What the data suggests is deeply concerning. The disproportionate impact of police policies such as stop and search on ethnic minority communities, has negative consequences on perceptions of the police and weakens community relationships.
“Islamophobia, and institutional racism more broadly, is real, and pervasive throughout civil society. We welcome the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC)’s thematic focus on race discrimination. We look forward to it’s conclusions and working with Police forces to better understand and engage Muslim Communities.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are clear that any form of prejudice in policing is unacceptable and the Government remains committed with police leaders to address these issues and keep our communities safe.
“Any allegations of racially aggravated misconduct within the police must be referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct and last year we reformed the police disciplinary system to improve accountability within police forces.
“We are working closely with the police to deliver the diverse police workforce that our communities need.”
Voters were asked: “To what extent would you say that the police in general have a problem with each of the following? Racism: Islamophobia”
Options: Have a significant problem, Have something of a problem, Do not have much of a problem, Do not have a problem at all, Don’t know.
Representative poll of 2095 GB adults. Prepared by Savanta: ComRes ~ Fieldwork Conducted between 1st and 3rd October 2021. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of UK adults 18+ by age, gender, region, and other socio-economic characteristics including social grade.
Basit Mahmood is co-editor of Left Foot Forward
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