The killing of George Floyd has highlighted how pervasive institutional racism is within US law enforcement. But, protests and demonstrations have not been isolated to the United States. From Australia to Israel to France, people have taken to the streets to express the need for police reform and for system change to end racial inequality.
As a country and as a people, we need to increase our efforts to remove the rot of institutionalised racism that is imbedded in too many societies across the world.
The Black Lives Matter campaign originated in the USA, but is just as pertinent to the UK, where racism in policing remains a serious problem. Between 2016 and 2019, there were 2.8 times as many stop and searches of BAME people by Thames Valley Police as there were of white people. 14% of stop and searches on white people ended in arrest, whilst this was 18% for BAME people. The Government has recently extended stop and search powers under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 so that more police officers can stop and search people without needing reasonable grounds to do so. This is only more likely to unduly affect people with a BAME background.
Racism and racial discrimination in the UK does not stop at policing. It exists in other, equally existential aspects of life like health care, education, and housing.
The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. Racism has no place in the UK, it has no place in society.
We recognise that urgent action is needed to tackle racism in all its forms. In our own party, the Alderdice Review has highlighted failings to sufficiently engage with BAME communities and called for a culture change within the party.
In response to the George Floyd killing and the Black Lives Matters movement, we are working with increased urgency on an uncompromising policy to address racial inequalities and discrimination in Oxford. As politicians we have a responsibility to bring people together, not to drive them apart. As a local party we are determined to live up to that responsibility.
Oxford East Liberal Democrats
Please consider donating to one of the charities listed at the bottom of this post and / or follow the subsequent steps to take action to protest institutionally racist policing here, in the UK, and abroad.
To protest institutionally racist policing in the UK:
- Write to your MP
Tell them you want Section 60 to be abolished. Ask them what they have been doing to scrutinise the use of stop and search in your area.
- Write to your Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC)
In England and Wales and ask the same. You can find out who your elected PCC is here: https://www.apccs.police.uk/find-your-pcc/
Police and Crime Commissioner elections will take place in England and Wales next May. These elections often have low turnouts of 10-20%.
- Vote in the PCC elections next May, picking candidates who have serious policies to tackle racism in your area's police force (you can rank two candidates in order of preference).
To find stop-and-search statistics by area for England and Wales:
US-focused charities and organisations:
NAACP: Donate and sign the petition to serve justice for George Floyd:
NAACP Legal defence fund petition:
Black Lives Matter: Donate here:
Black Lives Matter main page:
To support policy reform: