The Race Equality Foundation responds to today’s Inquest report on new data and analysis on police contact and accountability:
‘We are shocked and saddened that Black people are seven times more likely to die than white people following restraint by police.
This racial disproportionality is higher than previously publicised.
The fact that Black people are much more likely to die whilst being restrained is further evidence that policing is still failing to protect Black people.
We are also disappointed that this data has only been brought to light by the charity Inquest in their new report released today I Can’t Breathe: Race, Death and British Policing.
We believe that the British system for investigating deaths after contact with the police fails black families and ignores racism as a potential factor.
The use of force by the police to restrain black people is often more violent and potentially more dangerous than it is for the rest of the UK population. This has to stop.
Strict guidelines need to be in place to ensure that force is only used when it is necessary, is proportionate, and is lawful. The awareness of the risks of restraint and consistency in police training have to considerably improve.
The police need to work with all communities to better understand and prevent fatal injuries.
We believe that the total deaths following restraint should be made public; as well as calculating the total racial disproportionality figures and making those figures public too.
Official data should routinely cover deaths in custody where restraint was involved, and also other fatalities covering deaths following contact with police where the person was technically not in police custody – that is under arrest or in a police cell.
Bringing these figures to light shows the problem but it also offers the opportunity for change.’