Community Cohesion & Safety
We build good race relations and community cohesion across all communities, and all minority ethnic individuals feel safe, protected and included, and experience less racism.
The Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime, Prejudice and Community Cohesion
The Independent Advisory Group published its report in September 2016 and made a number of key recommendations, one of which was for the Scottish Government to develop clear plans for taking forward the public sector equality duty to 'foster good relations', and encourage other public bodies to do likewise. This supports the REF action "Explore way to support public bodies in implementing the 'fostering good relations' element of the Public Sector Equality Duties with regard to race equality and community cohesion".
On 13 June, we published an ambitious programme of work to tackle hate crime and build community cohesion in response to the recommendations made by the Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime, Prejudice and Community Cohesion. This included a commitment to establish a multi-agency delivery group comprising CoSLA, Justice agencies and equality organisations to take this work forward which will meet for the first time in November 2017, chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities. It also included a commitment to run a national campaign to raise awareness of what hate crime is and encourage reporting which was launched by the Cabinet Secretary on 13 October 2017.
Independent review of hate crime legislation
Lord Bracadale was appointed on 26 January 2017, to lead an independent review of hate crime legislation. Amongst other things, Lord Bracadale is consulting on the groups covered by hate crime legislation. We will consider Lord Bracadale's recommendations carefully when they are made in early 2018.
Police Scotland's live review of Third Party Reporting
Police Scotland Safer Communities Equality and Diversity Unit have ongoing work, which will allow for a greater understanding of the use of Third Party Reporting ( TPR) centres and is aimed at improving the effectiveness of Third Party Reporting. All existing TPR centres were contacted in May 2017 and informed of the proposed improvement actions and arrangements are now underway to create a short life working group, comprising of TPR centre representatives and local police liaison officers.
Review of Scottish Government's Strategic Police Priorities
The Review involved widespread engagement activity with communities, including minority ethnic communities, to gather views on their priorities for policing in Scotland. Feedback from focus groups identified opportunities to further strengthen the Priorities and ultimately led to the inclusion of an additional Priority focusing solely on issues linked to inclusion. The Revised Strategic Police Priorities were laid before Parliament on 5 October 2016. The Strategic Police Priorities were used by Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority to inform their " Policing 2026" long-term transformational strategy which highlights the importance of Police Scotland responding effectively to diverse needs of Scotland's communities.
Stop and Search practice on minority ethnic communities
The Code of Practice on stop and search came into force in May 2017. Under the Code, Police Scotland must carefully monitor the use of stop and search in relation to specific sections of the community, including different ethnic groups. This enables them to identify any concerning trends or seemingly disproportionate use of powers, and to take action if necessary. Police Scotland must also publish an annual report, as soon as practicable after the end of each reporting year (ending 31 March), that includes a breakdown of searches by ethnic origin.
Increase the number of minority ethnic entrants to the police workforce
We worked with the Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland to promote positive action in the police workforce. There have been positive changes to the recruitment procedures for Police Officers. Police Scotland's Positive Action Team has implemented the "Introduction to Police Programme ( ITPP), that supports potential minority ethnic candidates through a training and mentoring programme. The first course had 54 participants and the second 58, with the direct result that over 10% of the recruits that joined Police Scotland in September 2017 were from a minority ethnic background.
The Positive Action Team has also been instrumental in making changes to the recruitment process to break down perceived barriers to joining the police. This includes the introduction of the standard Hijab for officers; the removal of the requirement that candidates hold a full driving licence; and changes to the police fitness test.