AL JAZEERA: 'Many black communities have poor experiences at hands of police'

Press/Media: Expert comment

Release date: 9/4/2020

Description

Bridget Byrne, one of the book's authors, a professor of sociology and director of the Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity and Inequality at the University of Manchester, said the pandemic was a "stark reminder of how inequalities could lead to very fatal outcomes".

For example, she feared that police powers under the UK's Coronavirus Act 2020, signed into law last month, could disproportionately affect young black men.

Under the law, police are able to arrest those suspected of flouting lockdown rules and detain people suspected of having the virus.

But there are persistent concerns that the police abuse stop-and-search powers and target ethnic minorities.

Recent government data showed that between April 2018 and March 2019, in every 1,000 stop-and-search operations, four white people were stopped, compared with 38 black people - the highest of any ethnic group.

"Many black communities have very poor experiences at the hands of police," she told Al Jazeera.

"If you give police the right to question and stop people just because they're walking on the street, it's going to have a different impact depending on people's racialised position and their immigration status.

"Increased police powers, particularly policing street behaviours would need a lot of scrutiny in terms of how that impacts differently on communities."

Media contributions

Title'Many black communities have poor experiences at hands of police'
Media name/outletAl Jazeera
Media typeWeb
CountryUnited Kingdom
Date9/04/20
DescriptionBridget Byrne, one of the book's authors, a professor of sociology and director of the Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity and Inequality at the University of Manchester, said the pandemic was a "stark reminder of how inequalities could lead to very fatal outcomes".

For example, she feared that police powers under the UK's Coronavirus Act 2020, signed into law last month, could disproportionately affect young black men.

Under the law, police are able to arrest those suspected of flouting lockdown rules and detain people suspected of having the virus.

But there are persistent concerns that the police abuse stop-and-search powers and target ethnic minorities.

Recent government data showed that between April 2018 and March 2019, in every 1,000 stop-and-search operations, four white people were stopped, compared with 38 black people - the highest of any ethnic group.

"Many black communities have very poor experiences at the hands of police," she told Al Jazeera.

"If you give police the right to question and stop people just because they're walking on the street, it's going to have a different impact depending on people's racialised position and their immigration status.

"Increased police powers, particularly policing street behaviours would need a lot of scrutiny in terms of how that impacts differently on communities."
URLhttps://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/black-communities-poor-experiences-hands-police-200409092651709.html
PersonsBridget Byrne