New statistics have revealed that the Metropolitan Police used force against a disproportionately large number of black people in London over the past three months.
Thirty-six percent of the 12,605 people subjected to police force between April and July were black or black British, while those groups account for only about 13 percent of London’s population, according to official figures released by Scotland Yard on Tuesday.
Scotland Yard officers used force of varying degrees from handcuffs to guns as many as 139 times a day in London on average, or once every 10 minutes.
Data from Britain’s largest police force showed that almost 11,000 of the recorded incidents were against men, 1,600 against women and 37 against people classified by the police as transgender.
“This is a deeply troubling report. It cannot be right that black people and young black men in particular are so much more likely to have force used against them,” said Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott. “All police forces throughout the country must treat all communities equally, and with respect.”
“This shows we need to rebuild trust and the links between communities and the police. Labour will recruit 10,000 more community police officers to tackle this problem,” she noted.
The official figures also showed that British officers were injured 643 times when using force against members of the public, regardless of ethnicity, age or sex.
Commander Matt Twist, who heads the Met’s response to restraint and self-defense, hailed the new type of data collection as a “positive step,” and said such statistics are to be published every three months.
“Our officers face the most dangerous situations every day. It is important we give them the right training and equipment to do the job,” he added. “Use-of-force techniques are there to stop violence and danger, protecting not only the officer making an arrest but also the public at the scene, and the person being arrested.”
The Metropolitan Police’s figures came amid tension over the recent deaths of two young black men in the British capital.
Charles Rashan, 22, lost his life in hospital on July 22 after being chased by police and pinned to the floor. He was taken to Royal London hospital, where he died a short time later.
Edir Frederico Da Costa, known as Edson, 25, died in hospital under contested circumstances six days after Metropolitan Police officers stopped the car he was travelling in with two friends.
By Africafrique and agencies