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A majority of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people in the UK support the idea of defunding the police, according to a new study.
More than half feel there is a bias against them within police forces and that they are treated more harshly in courts.
Two thirds (65%) of respondents said they feel members of the police are biased against them.
Of these, eight out of 10 respondents of Black and Bangladeshi heritage said “police are biased against people from my background and ethnic group”, compared to around half of those of Chinese and Indian backgrounds.
More than half (54%) said they supported the idea of defunding the police, with women most likely to agree that the government should divert money to preventative areas such as youth work, social care and mental health services.
Meanwhile, three-quarters of Black people and 71% of Bangladeshi people said they feel they are dealt with more severely in the courts.
Almost three-quarters (73%) said they support the Black Lives Matter movement, but there were fears that they might prompt a backlash from sections of the white population.
About the same proportion of respondents (72%) said learning about Black history should be compulsory in schools, while 65% felt statues of slave traders should be removed from public squares and put into museums.
More than half have witnessed or experienced racist comments being made in public, racism on social media or in the press, or racial abuse over the past 12 months.
Detective inspector Andy George, interim president of the National Black Police Association, said the survey confirmed their concerns around trust and confidence in UK policing.
He said: “Building strong relationships with ethnic minority communities makes us more likely to understand new and emerging crimes in the community and more likely to receive community intelligence which will allow us to target those causing most harm in the community.
“Now is the time to acknowledge the evidence produced in this report and build long-term strategies to increase trust and confidence in BAME communities.”
The poll also found widespread anger over the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
More than half (57%) of respondents said not enough had been done to protect BAME communities from Covid-19.
People of Chinese heritage were the most likely to list coronavirus as one of the issues most important to them, which may reflect the impact of anti-Chinese sentiment since the coronavirus outbreak.
The report said the results showed there should be action to address the concerns of the BAME communities, given the threat of a second wave.
It reads: “Given the devastating impact this first wave of coronavirus has had on BAME communities, the Government must do more than simply reflect on what went wrong.
“They must act to put protections in place that directly support those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, and to put a greater emphasis on addressing structural racial disparities as part of an economic recovery plan.”
A spokesperson from the National Police Chiefs’ Council said it was working “to address racial inequalities in policing”.