Agenda item



There were no declarations.


Before proceeding with items on the agenda, the Chairman reiterated the statement issued by the Lord Mayor and Chairs of Policy and Resources and Establishment Committees and himself on 4 June 2020, namely:


We are shocked and saddened by the senseless death of George Floyd.


The City of London Corporation is committed to equality, inclusivity and diversity and we stand in solidarity with BAME colleagues and communities.


We understand it is not enough to say we are against racism but we have to work to eradicate all forms of racism in all that we do.


This is why we have signed the Race at Work Charter and we aim to be a leader in diversity and reflect the communities we serve across London and the UK.


We pledge to fulfil our responsibility to create a fair and inclusive society.


Black Lives Matter.


The Chairman continued, noting that many had been shocked by George Floyd’s death and disturbed by events following his death in connection with both the protests and the policing of it, including some of the footage that morning.


Rightly, that had caused members and the public to ask questions about UK policing, its track record on equality, the treatment of BAME people and bias in policing public order.


The Chairman would shortly be asking the Commissioner to make a brief statement on these areas and after that Members were free to ask questions.


The Chairman thought it was fair to say that the track record of policing in the UK was, in comparison to many countries, good. But it was not perfect and more still needed to be done to ensure that the diversity of those in policing more fairly reflected the people it policed.


Further, with regards to policing, racial bias remained a matter that required continuous review, education, training and monitoring by both policing and the bodies that had oversight of policing in this country including the City’s Police Authority Board.


Amongst other checks and balances, it was why the Board had a Professional Standards & Integrity Committee; it was why complaints with any racial allegations were closely looked at; it was why the Board tracked diversity in officer and staff numbers; it was why policing was transparent on Stop & Search and this was published and monitored by external bodies. 


Policing in the UK was policing by consent.  To maintain this, policing must have public support, and to do that it must have public trust. The Police Authority and the Police Authority Board had a role to ensure exactly that. The Board must ensure equality and eliminate bias, be committed to diversity and inclusion, and there must be zero tolerance to racism.


The Commissioner was then heard, noting that the Force was shocked by the case of George Floyd and justice needed to take its course. Subsequent protests were evidence of concern regarding race and policing. The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) had issued a statement regarding George Floyd which has been shared with the Board on 3 June 2020.


The Commissioner readily admitted that UK policing was not perfect but that it sought to police by consent. The Force had its own Code of Ethics which underpinned all that its officers did. Officers underwent Equality and Diversity instruction during both their training, and periodically throughout their service. The Force also had an Equality and Inclusion Strategy. The most recent intake of police recruits counted 1/3 from a BAME background, which was a significant improvement on recent years.


In terms of policing public protests, all City of London Police officers were trained to College of Public Policing standards. There was an appropriate balance to be struck between the right to protest, and the enforcement of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. The Commissioner reassured Members that there was no authority for the use of water cannon; and that the authority for the use of CS spray and baton rounds lay with him the Commissioner and in his view he did not see any requirement for their employment in the foreseeable future.


The Commissioner concluded by noting that the Force had the Independent Advisory and Scrutiny Group (IASG) to scrutinise the work of the Force, which was supported in turn by the Board’s Professional Standards and Integrity Committee. The Force employed Body Worn Video (BWV) and CCTV to ensure that the narratives of its Police officers were evidenced. All of these measures were underpinned by the external scrutiny of Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).


The Chairman agreed to circulate a summary of the statements made.