Green party mayoral candidate Sian Berry has pledged to introduce a new independent watchdog to supervise the Met’s use of stop and search if she’s elected next week.
Berry has also promised to ban individual officers from using stop and search “if they misuse the power even once”.
The pledges form part of a mini-manifesto setting out how a Green-led City Hall would tackle racial inequality and boost the living standards of London’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities.
Official figures show that BAME Londoners are disproportionately likely to be the subject of a police stop, fuelling concerns that some officers are targeting specific communities without justification.
In recent years Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has moved the force towards a more ‘intelligence-led’ use of the powers but the disparity in the ethnicity of those stopped continues to be a cause of concern for many campaigners.
Ms Berry says her promised reforms would make it less likely that BAME Londoners would be stopped without officers having a legitimate reason.
She’s also pledged “affirmative action” to increase the Met’s racial diversity, although any move to introduce positive discrimination within the force would need Government legislation to make it legal.
Sir Bernard has previously expressed his backing for such a move and, in the absence of any legislative changes, has sought to recruit more officers from within the Met’s existing ranks of PCSOs which are more representative of the capital’s diversity.
Other measures contained in the manifesto include anonymising the initial stages of recruitment in City Hall and its agencies “to avoid race and gender bias” and City Hall support for BAME run businesses.
Ms Berry said: “Ethnicity, race or faith should not predetermine poorer outcomes in life, yet currently in London it all too often does.
“Our plans will mean real action to diversify the Met Police, to help stop discrimination against those seeking work and to stop small businesses from being squeezed out of London.”
Londoners will elect a new Mayor and the 25 members of the London Assembly on May 5th. Candidates for Mayor include Conservative Zac Goldsmith, Labour’s Sadiq Khan, Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon, the Green party’s Sian Berry and UKIP’s Peter Whittle.