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Policing is a hot-button topic on any given day, but the tragic case of Sarah Everard and the recent “Kill the Bill” protests have raised the alarm and reignited public debate about law enforcement’s role in the UK. Despite renewed discussions about policing, the perspectives of Black women, Black LGBTQ+ and Black non-binary people are often excluded from mainstream discourse even though they are more likely to be victims of crimes such as harassment and assault. To amplify these underrepresented and disproportionately affected voices, we reached out to our My Moon Landing community to find out what they thought about the state of policing in the UK.
Our conversations with our members revealed a staggering majority of largely negative experiences with the police. They recounted instances of the police committing wrongful house raids, arrests, assaults and being stopped without a valid reason - highlighting a real disconnect and fractured relationship with the police. As a result of these upsetting incidents, the My Moon Landing members described living in a hyper-vigilant state, where they are intensely afraid of interacting with the UK’s police force.
The overwhelming feeling from our community was one of fear of the very same body of people supposed to ensure their safety on the streets. They expressed concerns about unjust aggression, rough handling and the use of excessive force. And in spite of worries for their own personal safety as a marginalised group that often comes under attack, our community also shared concerns about the safety of Black men who they have witnessed being disproportionately stopped and searched by the police.
How to solve the UK’s apparent broken policing?
Without a doubt, the issue of policing is complex. But there will also be members of the UK’s law enforcement body that will feel that this representation of them is unfair. Sadly, it is the few bad experiences that people remember most. We asked our community what in their opinion can be done to fix a glaringly broken system to law and order in the UK. Unsurprisingly suggestions for improving policing were varied. Some called for increased recruitment from minority communities to foster a sense of safety for ethnic minorities, especially recruiting more Black women, LGBTQ+ or non-binary candidates. Another suggestion was for police to prioritise investigating existing crimes rather than making fresh arrests under the guise of stop and search. Although other solutions mentioned improving how the police communicate with marginalized groups and the police making public apologies for misconduct against Black people, for some, the answer isn’t one single solution. Enforcing a no-racism policy isn’t as simple as telling the police not to be racist. As a result, some people are less optimistic about solutions that would enhance feeling safe around the police.
Despite the police’s existing initiatives for improving minority relations, there’s still plenty of work to be done. Even though many debate the effectiveness of diversity, people from the My Moon Landing community still want the police to undergo personal development courses that could improve relations with the Black community.
As our government looks to the future of policing, we can't afford to relegate historically unheard voices when they are overwhelmingly affected by policing and crime. What feels like a watershed moment now is an opportunity to rethink how we approach law enforcement and ultimately make the country safer for all citizens, including the most underrepresented parts of the Black community.