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BAME communities more likely to be arrested in London by police using coronavirus laws

BLACK, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people are more likely than white people to be arrested in London using coronavirus laws, damning new figures showed today.

The total number of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) handed out by the Metropolitan Police between March 27 and May 14 was almost a fifth higher for those from minority communities.

Ethnic minorities make up around four in 10 of the capital's population, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data.

However these communities have accounted for more than half of the fines and arrests for alleged breaches of Covid-19 legislation.

Black people make up 12 per cent of the population but received 26 per cent of the 973 fines handed out by police and accounted for 31 per cent of arrests.

Asian people, who account for 18 per cent of London's population, were handed 23 per cent of fines and were subject to 14 per cent of arrests, the ONS stats show.

The Met admitted that "higher proportions of those in [BAME] groups were issued with FPNs or arrested across London as a whole."

Former chief superintendent Owen West said racism was a potential factor in the number of fines handed out to BAME people.

"We have a real issue in the UK around the disproportionate effect of police powers and coercion in the UK," the retired officer told BBC Five Live.

"And I really do think now is the time to confront it."

Rosalind Comyn, policy and campaigns officer at human-rights group Liberty, said: "These figures reflect the unjust reality that affected communities are well aware of, even when lockdown is not in place."

She called on the government urgently to address the long-standing disparities in the way BAME communities are policed.

 

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