Question: If you feel you have to build relationships with one group of people or community does that indicate that you’ve been treating them differently?

Today the news has been all about the police building relationships with the black community in and around London. The police are often accused of being racist. Interesting statistics such as stop and search figures are banded about and on the face of it they do appear to suggest that race is an issue. It’s said that for every one white person stopped in London 4 black people are stopped. This seems disturbingly unfair. However the police state that they will only stop and search people if they have reasonable suspicion of wrong doing. However as reported by Mark Easton on the BBC yesterday the polices own figures indicate that 27% of stop and searches have no reasonable grounds. Much of his seems to be down to what the police class as “Reasonable grounds”. The term is completely subjective, what is reasonable to someone who wants to catch a criminal is not likely to be reasonable to the person being stopped. The statistics get worse when you look back at the 2010 criminal justice statistics which seem to indicate that not only are the stop and search figures skewed but so are the average custodial sentences. Again the black community seem to have the higher average sentences. That or I’m reading the figures incorrectly.

So is the answer to spend more time building relationships with communities? Alternately would we rather the police focussed solely on solving crime regardless of who is committing it. The path will surely be a combination of the two however the second option totally relies on trust and do we trust these old institutions?