Black people, racism and human rights Contents

3Failures to secure Black people’s human rights

Overarching issue: lack of implementation of report recommendations

28.A succession of reports in recent years, have investigated, and found, structural racial inequalities in state institutions and processes, from the Home Office to the Youth Justice System. These include:

29.This Committee and other parliamentary committees have also conducted inquiries and made recommendations which have included consideration of Black people’s human rights. Some examples of these include:

30.Too often recommendations made in these reports have not been implemented and where actions have been taken, they have been superficial and not had lasting effect. Baroness Lawrence summed up the frustration felt by many when she told us:

“We have had so many reports, and every time we have a report, they go back to the beginning again and keep repeating the same thing. I am not sure how many more lessons the Government need to learn. It is not just the Government of today but the Government of the Labour Party. How many more lessons do we all need to learn? The lessons are there already for us to implement. Until we start doing that, we will keep coming back in a year or two years repeating the same thing over and over again.”26

31.A related problem is that the same issues arise time and time again in different contexts, but lessons are not learned and applied consistently across the board. For example, the lack of representation of Black people at senior levels of organisations is an issue raised consistently in reviews relating to race equality. It crosses all sectors; the judiciary,27 the police,28 the civil service,29 and Parliament,30 to name but a few. In addition to better implementation of these recommendations, a more strategic and joined-up approach is needed to ensure progress can be driven forward across the board rather than in pockets.

32.The failure to act in response to reports and inquiries erodes the trust of Black people in the state and further compounds the impact of discrimination and denial of human rights. Rt Hon David Lammy MP told us that he felt the result of this would be increasing anger and frustration among the Black community.

“What happens is what we see on the streets of the United States. They take the law into their own hands. People get very angry and frustrated. I fear and worry for the future if we do not get to a place where we are not just kicking these issues into the long grass but are actually comprehensively implementing reviews that have been recommended after long and careful deliberation.”31

33.So, why has more progress not been made in recent years? Listening to the evidence from our witnesses who had either authored or been instrumental in instigating reports on race inequality over many years, it is hard to escape the conclusion that what has been lacking is the sustained political will over successive governments to prioritise implementation of recommendations. At best this can be viewed as negligent, at worst there is a sense that these reviews, which are undertaken by excellent people in good faith, are used by governments as a way of avoiding taking action to redress legitimate grievances.

34.Linked to the lack of political focus is the lack of a clear cross-Government strategy on race equality, under which recommendations can be taken forward. In his evidence to us Lord Woolley expressed his belief that a window of opportunity now exists in which real progress can be made, he told us “out of all this awfulness there is a hint of optimism if we grasp it.”32 This hope will only be realised with clear and unambiguous political focus and a coherent, cross-Government race equality strategy, with clear timelines and targets.

35.Commissioning reports and failing to implement them intensifies disaffection and lack of confidence in the Government on race issues. Government must implement the findings of previous reports that have been commissioned.

36.The Government has established the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities which is expected to report before the end of 2020. Previous inquiries and work of the Race Disparity Unit have identified the problems and pointed to solutions; the focus of this new Commission must therefore not be further fact-finding but on taking action to reduce inequalities and secure Black people’s human rights. This should take the form of a comprehensive cross Government race equality strategy.


37.The research conducted by ClearView found that the majority, over 60%, of Black people in the UK, do not believe their health is as equally protected by the NHS compared to white people.

Figure 3: “As a black person, I believe my health is as equally protected by the NHS as compared to a white person”, percentage by gender

Figure 3 chart

Source: CVR Insights, The Black Community and Human Rights, September 2020

38.Black women (78%) are more likely than Black men (47%) to not believe that their health is equally protected by the NHS compared to white people. This finding was also reflected in the interviews. Celine Henry, Research Executive at ClearView Research told us: “The men we interviewed described their fair experiences with the NHS, whereas most women expressed concerns about poor experiences, often because they were in care-giving roles.”33 We agree that it is likely that the disparity in men and women’s perception of whether the NHS treats Black people equally to white people is likely, at least in part, to be due to women’s engagement with the NHS through giving birth and also caring for children and older people in the family.

39.We note the significant numbers of Black people in mental health detention in the UK. In 2016/17, known rates of Mental Health Act 1983 detention in the Black or Black British group were over four times, and rates of Community Treatment Order use were almost nine times, those of the white group.34 We are concerned at potential disparities that have led to these statistics and are aware that this is a major issue.

Maternal mortality

40.Deaths in childbirth in the UK have fallen since 2010, despite risk factors such as age and comorbidities in mothers increasing. Maternal mortality occurs in fewer than 1 in 10,000 pregnancies. However, there are significant variations in these statistics based on race. Seven in 100,000 white women die in childbirth, 13 in 100,000 Asian women, 23 in 100,000 mixed ethnicity women, and 38 in 100,000 Black women. The death rate for Black women in childbirth is therefore five times higher than for white women35 and it is increasing year on year.36

41.The reasons for this disparity are not fully understood, a range of causes including socio-economic and physiological factors may be at play. Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, the Chief Midwifery Officer told us:

“I am still not confident that we know why there is an inequality in health outcomes between a black woman and a white woman. We have plausible explanations and the evidence on comorbidities is compelling, but there is something more.”37

42.An article in the British Medical Journal argued that institutional racism is a factor. It quoted Dr Christine Ekechi, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Imperial College London: “People think of racism in an overt, aggressive way. But that’s not always what it is. It’s about biased assumptions—and we doctors have the same biases as anyone else,”38 In the same article, Professor Gurch Randhawa argues that one of the main problems is the lack of inclusion of Black, Asian and minority ethnic people in research: “unless all ethnic communities are included in research, the medical profession will never be able to develop culturally competent diagnostic tests and services—and therefore can’t deliver true equity in healthcare.”39

43.Even though a significant disparity in death rates between Black and white women has been visible in the data contained in surveillance reports on maternal mortality going back to at least 2013, scant attention appears to have been paid to the issue in policy terms until very recently.40 In 2019 MBRRACE-UK, a research partnership attached to National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford, published its annual “Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care” report which set out lessons learned to inform maternity care from the surveillance data on maternal deaths and morbidity collected in the period 2015–17.41 Despite the stark finding from this data that Black women are five times more likely to die in than white women the report contains no recommendation specifically aimed at reducing that disparity, although it does commit to further research on its causation. The 2018 report noted the issue but merely concluded “[a]ction is needed to address these disparities.”42

44.The NHS’s Maternity Transformation Programme, “Better Births” which began in 2016 made no specific commitments in relation to women from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds. Not until the NHS Long Term plan was published in January 2019, was a commitment made to ensuring that by 2024, three-quarters of pregnant women from Black, Asian and minority ethnic minorities will receive care from the same midwife before, during and after they give birth.43 This pledge was repeated in the review of the Better Births programme, published in March 2020.44 It was the only specific recommendation relating to Black, Asian and minority ethnic women. When we questioned Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent about this, she stressed that the NHS Long Term plan works on “the principle of proportionate universalism, providing care at a level of scale and intensity that is equal to the level of disadvantage.” So, while elements such as “continuity of care” are a universal offer, “black, Asian and minority ethnic women will benefit where they are considered to be more likely at risk.”45

45.The death rate for Black women in childbirth is five times higher than for white women. The NHS acknowledge and regret this disparity but have no target to end it. The Government must introduce a target to end the disparity in maternal mortality between Black women and white women.

Maternal mortality among Black women and Covid-19

46.Black pregnant women are eight times more likely to be admitted to hospital with Covid-19, while Asian women are four times as likely.46 In September 2020, MMBRACE published ‘Learning from SARS-CoV-2-related and associated maternal deaths in the UK.’47 This report reviewed the deaths of ten women who died with SARS-CoV-2 between 01/03/2020 and 31/05/2020. Eight of the women died from SARS-CoV-2, all of whom were in the third trimester of pregnancy at the time of disease onset. Seven of these women (88%) were from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups.

47.To address the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on outcomes for Black, Asian and minority ethnic women, Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent has set out a four-point plan to provide additional support for pregnant Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) women during the Covid-19 pandemic.48 The four elements of the plan, launched in June 2020, are:

48.The impact of Covid-19 has only served to sharpen pre-existing inequalities for pregnant Black women. The Chief Midwifery Officer has formulated a four-point action plan to better support these women during the Covid-19 pandemic, which is very welcome. These actions must be implemented as a matter of urgency.


49.The impact of Covid-19 on the Black community has been disproportionately severe. According to research by Public Health England the highest rates of Covid-19 per 100,000 population were in people of Black ethnic groups (486 in females and 649 in males) and the lowest were in people of white ethnic groups (220 in females and 224 in males).49 After accounting for the effect of sex, age, deprivation and region, people of Black Caribbean and other Black ethnicity had between 10 and 50% higher risk of death when compared to white British people.50 A survey carried out by the Runnymede Trust, published in June, found that 19% of people from Black African and Black Caribbean backgrounds know someone who has died of the virus.51

50.Reflecting on these facts and the reasons behind them, Lord Woolley told us:

“When we look in this Human Rights Committee at the right to life, we have to pay particular focus to Covid-19 because our system, which still has deep-seated inequalities, has caused, I would say by default, many people to put their lives in danger. Many have died.”52

51.The reasons for the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on Black people are not yet fully understood; a range of factors need to be considered including socio-economic inequalities and the prevalence of underlying health conditions among some ethnic groups. Runnymede Trust’s survey suggested that “one of the main reasons BME groups are more at risk of dying of Covid-19 compared to white groups is that they have been over-exposed to the coronavirus.” They explained some of the reasons for this as follows:

“BME groups are more exposed because they are more likely to be working outside of their home, more likely to have jobs on the front line […] and less likely to be protected with adequate PPE, whilst more likely to be living in multi-generational housing and have much lower levels of pre-existing savings to buffet the economic impact of Covid-19.”53

52.The lessons learned review proposed in our recent report on the human rights impact of Covid-19 measures, and any subsequent public inquiry must prioritise consideration of why Black people have experienced higher mortality from the virus. For example, it should examine decisions taken about the allocation of PPE when it became know that those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds were more at risk from the virus and look at how the employment and housing situations of Black people have made them more vulnerable.

Criminal Justice System (CJS)

53.Our polling found that the vast majority of Black people in the UK are not confident that they would be treated the same as a white person by the police. Of all the issues covered in the polling, this was the one that there was greatest consensus about, with 85% of Black people not being confident that they would be treated the same as a white person by the police. This is in comparison to 76% of Black people who do not believe that their human rights are equally protected to white people and 64% of Black people who do not believe their health is as equally protected by the NHS compared to white people. Burphy Zumu told us he thought that the sentiment being strongly expressed by this finding is that Black people believe that there is a there is a very real prospect of them being treated unfairly by the police because of their race:

“Our polling is not saying that 85% of people say that their experience of the police has been 100% negative because of their race; we are saying that they feel that there might be mistreatment because of their race.”54

Figure 4: “As a black person, I would be treated the same as a white person by the police”, percentage

Figure 4 chart

Source: CVR Insights, The Black Community and Human Rights, September 2020

54.Black women (in comparison to Black men) are less likely to believe they will be treated the same as white people by the police. Black women (91%) are more likely than Black men (77%) not to feel they would be treated the same as a white person by the police.

Figure 5: “As a black person, I would be treated the same as a white person by the police”, percentage by gender

Figure 5 chart

Source: CVR Insights, The Black Community and Human Rights, September 2020

Over-representation of Black people in the Criminal Justice System

55.Black people are over-represented at every stage of the Criminal Justice System (CJS) as these statistics testify:

56.The problem of over-representation is especially acute in relation to Black children. Just for Kids Law/Children’s Rights Alliance told us:

“[…] while the criminalisation of children of all ethnic groups has decreased in the last decade, the extent to which Black children and young people are disproportionately targeted by the youth justice system has increased.”58

Figures from the Youth Justice Statistics 2018/2019 in England and Wales bear out this fact. Despite only making up 4% of the 10–17 year-old general population, Black children were:

57.The Lammy Review was commissioned by the Cameron Government in 2016 to address the issue of over-representation of Black people, in the CJS. The review made 35 recommendations based on three key principles:

58.How many of the review’s 35 recommendations have been implemented to date, is a matter of some dispute. Speaking to us when he gave evidence in July 2020, Mr David Lammy MP told us:

“On my count, they have implemented six of the 35 recommendations I made, but I was very disappointed to hear the Prime Minister suggest that they had implemented 16, only to see that retracted by the Minister.”61

59.What is clear, is that without comprehensive implementation of the review’s recommendations not only has progress not been made but the situation has worsened. Since publication of the report the proportion of young people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds in young offender institutions has risen from 41% to 51%. Clinks, a national infrastructure charity for voluntary organisations working in criminal justice in England and Wales told us that “This highlights the need for bolder action and leadership to address the systemic racism within the CJS that leads to the racial disparities that are now well-documented.”62

60.In some areas witnesses to this inquiry have set out the need for the Government to go beyond the report recommendations and in his evidence Mr David Lammy MP recognised the need for this greater ambition in order to maintain the trust of the community. One example of this is in relation to measures to divert children and young people from the CJS. The Lammy Review recommended the wider rollout of the deferred prosecution scheme which allows suspects in cases of certain ‘low-level’ offences to defer their prosecution on condition that they take part in a rehabilitation programme, but Clinks in its evidence makes the case for diversionary pathways that are available specifically for young Black people in order to make a meaningful impact on overrepresentation.63

61.We call for the recommendations from the Lammy Review to be implemented as a matter of priority.

Over-policing of the Black community

62.Over-policing of the Black community is another related and longstanding problem. In England and Wales between April 2018 and March 2019 there were four stop and searches for every 1,000 white person, compared with 38 for every 1,000 Black person.64 Stop and search powers can engage Article 8 ECHR (the right to respect for private and family life) as well as Article 5 ECHR (right to liberty and security).65 In general, stop and search powers as currently formulated are capable of being compatible with the right to respect for private and family life (Article 8 ECHR), however, if they are used disproportionately against certain groups this could engage the right to non-discrimination (Article 14 ECHR) as read with Article 8 ECHR. If a stop and search goes beyond the normal cursory stop and search, it could meet the criteria for engaging Article 5 ECHR (right to liberty). Moreover, if a stop results in an arrest that will engage Article 5 ECHR. Whilst these powers can be used in a way that is compliant with one of the limbs of Article 5, if they are consistently being used in a way that impacts a particular community (in a way that is not justified or proportionate) then this could engage Article 14 as read with Article 5 ECHR.

63.At the heart of this issue is the stereotyping of Black people, especially Black men. In their evidence the United Friends and Families Campaign, a group comprising the families and friends of those who have died in police, prison and psychiatric custody, told us:

“Black men are systematically labelled as dangerous, hostile and threatening, leading to the legitimation of violence against them - violence which, for our loved ones, was lethal. Again and again, we have seen officers justify brutal unprovoked attacks on Black and Asian men with comments about how ‘threatened’ they feel, most recently in the Sheku Bayoh case. For the police, it seems, the mere claim that they ‘felt threatened’ is an instant get-out clause. It means they are allowed to kill us.”66

This sentiment was also expressed in the interviews conducted by ClearView for this inquiry. Celine Henry told us that in discussions relating to policing:

“[…] people felt that oftentimes they are seen as less than because of stereotypes and maybe media perceptions and narratives, and even because of education and the criminal system.”67

64.Our opening oral evidence session in this inquiry took place on 6 July 2020, two days previously it was widely reported in the media that the Black athlete Bianca Williams had been stopped by the Metropolitan Police as she drove with her partner to their west London home in their Mercedes.68 The couple were then handcuffed while their baby son was in the car. The incident has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct which is now investigating claims that officers breached police standards of professional behaviour relating to use of force, duties and responsibilities, authority, respect and courtesy and whether the couple “were treated less favourably because of their race”.69 Asked whether this kind of situation was evidence of racial profiling by the police, Baroness Lawrence told us:

“Definitely. They associate anybody driving a high-performance car such as a BMW, a Mercedes or whatever with people doing drugs. That goes back generations. That is what they do, and it continues to be the case. Nothing much has changed over the years. The police need to understand that there are young professionals who can afford to buy those cars, and why not? Why should they think, “Oh, I mustn’t buy this, because I might get stopped by the police”?”70

Baroness Lawrence also told us of an occasion when she herself had been stopped by the police without a seemingly credible reason whilst she was driving, late at night in the mid-1990s.71 That these things continue to happen over 25 years later is a sign that insufficient progress has been made.

65.So-called “pre-condition” searches, that is searches carried out under section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (as amended) which allow officers to search people without reasonable grounds are among the most controversial stop and search powers.72 In August 2014 the Home Office published guidance to police forces on the best use of stop and search (BUSS).73 This guidance was specifically designed to promote a more targeted approach to stop and search and reduce the use of section 60 searches. The guidance included requirements on race and diversity monitoring and to comply with it, forces were expected to ensure that the impact of the scheme, particularly as it relates to individuals from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups or young people, is monitored. Since August 2019 it has no longer been Home Office policy to encourage forces to comply with the BUSS guidance on the authorisation of pre-condition searches, although some forces are still following the guidance.

66.Regulations to control coronavirus outbreaks74 have granted the police increased powers to fine people for being outside of their homes, for meeting up with friends or family or for failing to wear a mask. Other powers under the Coronavirus Act 2020 allow the police to detain anyone who is potentially infectious. The use of this suite of new powers that are highly invasive into the private lives of individuals, have heightened the issue of over-policing still further. The number of Black people being stopped and searched by the police has increased dramatically, and disproportionately compared to white people, since the legislation came into force. The Metropolitan Police Service carried out just under 42,779 stop and searches during May 2020. 16,482 (39%) of the searches were carried out on Black males and 14,210 (33%) on White males. These figures equate to a rate of 27.6 per 1,000 population for Black males compared to a rate of 5.9 per 1,000 population for White males.75 The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) conducted analysis of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) issued by police under the Coronavirus (Covid-19) regulations between 27 March and 25 May. This showed that Black people were issued with an FPN at a rate 1.8 times higher than white people (this was the same for Asian people, and across all Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups the rate was 1.6 times higher).76

67.We note the “Police Plan of Action on Inclusion and Race Equality” which has been established by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and College of Policing in response to concerns about racial injustice in policing in the UK following the death of George Floyd. We welcome the commitment given by the organisations to ensure the plan is developed and delivered through ongoing two-way engagement with Black people, and others with lived experience, inside and outside of policing.77

68.The polling we commissioned revealed very low levels in trust in the police among the Black community. Some 85% of Black people do not believe that they would be treated the same as a white person by the police. The police must regularly poll Black people to find out their levels of confidence in the police to protect their human rights. They must publish the findings of this polling and use it to set a benchmark and a target to increase the confidence that Black people have in the police to protect their human rights. The police must also set a target to increase the number of Black police officers and publish the percentage of Black police officers in each force by seniority.

Deaths in custody

69.An obligation on the State to secure the right to life is imposed by Article 2 ECHR. It has two aspects: the substantive obligation, which includes the general obligation to take appropriate steps to safeguard the lives of those within the state’s jurisdiction, and the prohibition of intentional deprivation of life by the State; and the procedural obligation to carry out an effective investigation into alleged breaches of the substantive obligation. There have been recent calls for better coordination to ensure that the correct processes are followed in cases requiring Article 2 ECHR investigations.78

70.While the majority of those who have died in police custody in England and Wales over the past ten years have been white, Black people are disproportionately represented. Between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020 there were 18 deaths in or following police custody. Of those who died 14 people were white, and three were Black, accounting for 17% of deaths.”79 There is also evidence that the use of restraint is disproportionately involved in the deaths of people of Black, Asian and minority ethnicity in police custody. Casework carried out by the charity INQUEST shows that the proportion of deaths among people of Black, Asian and minority ethnicity in custody where restraint is a feature is over two times greater than it is in other deaths in custody, as is the proportion where use of force is a feature.80 In its submission to this inquiry the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody told us:

“These trends raise serious questions about the influence of racism as a contributing factor to deaths, and have particular capacity to provoke understandable anger and distrust within black communities.”81

71.Families and friends of Black people who have died in state detention have told us that the lack of proper accountability for their loved ones deaths and transparency over the role that race and/or racism played in them is the key issue that needs addressing:

“When police officers kill our loved ones on the basis of a racist hunch, they need to be prosecuted, for murder, with the full force of the law. If that does not happen, no amount of Black faces in the police will help to ingratiate them into our communities.”82

72.Bereaved families have told the charity, INQUEST that they felt:

“[…] disillusioned by the cyclical nature of reviews, reports and recommendations and the frustration that their experiences regrettably echoed those of families newly bereaved despite the years between them.”83

73.The Angiolini Review into Deaths and Serious Incidents in Police Custody (2017) was set up as a direct response to the deaths of Sean Rigg and Olaseni Lewis, two Black men who died after the use of restraint and the “appalling level of delays, obfuscations and institutional blunders that followed.”84 The review, carried out by Rt Hon Dame Elish Angiolini was not explicitly focused on race but it made a number of recommendations specifically referencing institutional racism, race or discrimination but the then Government did not respond to these in either its initial response or progress review in 2019. In the absence of greater action, Black people have continued to die at a disproportionate rate compared to white people. Between 2017 and 2019 in England and Wales there were a total of 39 custody related deaths. 17 of them involved the use of force and of these 17 deaths, 12 were of white people and 5 were of Black people - around 30% of the total.85

74.Recommendations from the Angiolini Review referencing institutional racism, race or discrimination must be responded to and taken forward as a matter of urgency.

75.As we recently recommended in our report on the human rights implications of measures to tackle Covid-19, the Government should give serious thought to establishing a Commissioner or Office of Article 2 compliance, to ensure that the correct processes are followed in cases requiring Article 2 ECHR investigations, without relying on bereaved families for ensuring appropriate follow-up. Such a body should ensure that lessons are learned, and that best practice is disseminated to relevant bodies to prevent future unnecessary deaths.

Nationality and immigration

76.Evidence to this inquiry argued that the widely acknowledged systemic failings of the immigration system stem from institutional racism in the Home Office, and that this was embedded in nationality and immigration policy and practice.86

77.The Windrush scandal arose in 2017 after it emerged that hundreds of Commonwealth citizens, many of whom were Black people from the ‘Windrush’ generation or their children, had been wrongly detained, deported and denied legal rights. In 2018 this Committee published a report on the unlawful detention and deportation of these people. The Report examined the cases of two members of the Windrush generation, who were detained wrongfully in breach of their right to liberty (Article 5 ECHR); Mr Anthony Bryan and Ms Paulette Wilson.87

78.Wendy Williams, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Fire and Rescue Services, was asked to look into the events leading up to the scandal. In her report , published in March 2020, she stopped short of a definitive finding of institutional racism within the Home Office but noted that “these failings demonstrate an institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness towards the issue of race and the history of the Windrush generation within the department, which are consistent with some elements of the definition of institutional racism.”88 In its submission to this inquiry Amnesty International sets out how it believes that the role of racism in the scandal goes much deeper and can be traced back to the original changes to nationality and immigration laws from which the later denial of residency rights stemmed.89

79.Summing up the recommendations made in her report Wendy Williams described the three key elements they contain:

“The first is that the Home Office has to acknowledge the wrong that has been done. The second is that it should open itself up to wider external scrutiny. The third is that it has to change its culture to recognise that migration policy and wider Home Office policy has to be rooted in humanity and dignity, no matter what the objective.”90

80.In relation to the need for culture change, evidence to this inquiry argues that the Windrush scandal and “hostile environment” policies pursued by the Home Office are the consequences of an institutional culture of distrust and indifference towards Black people. A group of organisations expert in immigration law told us in joint submission:

“From the outset, the policies were based on a level of distrust. Theresa May promised to “deport first and hear appeal later.” What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty? It seems as if this idea does not apply to people who are not white. Such rhetoric exactly mirrors the suspicion that the police treat black people with and this is seen in the disproportionate stop and search statistics. The divisive immigration policies demonstrated that in the eyes of the law, black people were guilty until proven innocent.”91

81.The Government has said that it accepts the Windrush Lessons Learned Review’s recommendations in full. Speaking in the House of Commons on 21 July 2020 the Home Secretary, Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, set out a comprehensive set of actions the Government plans to take to implement the recommendations including measures to reform the culture of the Home Office.92 These include a welcome commitment to inviting Wendy Williams to review progress made in 2021. However, we share the concerns of the group of people affected by the Windrush scandal who wrote to the Guardian on 14 October stating that the Home Office’s “comprehensive improvement plan” published on 30 September is “long on regrets but short on specifics of how and when appropriate changes will be made.”93

82.We expect the Government to fulfil its promise to implement the recommendations from the Windrush Lessons Learned Review, in full, as a matter of urgency. Focus must be placed on securing the cultural changes needed to ensure that people are treated with humanity and not treated unfairly because of their race.

The Windrush Compensation Scheme

83.This Committee was deeply saddened to hear of the recent death of Paulette Wilson, one of the two members of the Windrush generation who gave vital evidence to this Committee in 2018 when it inquired into the situation of those who were detained in the scandal. We were also angered to hear that by the time of her death she had still not received full compensation under the Windrush compensation scheme.94 Home Office figures, released to the BBC under Freedom of Information laws, show that as at 30 August 2020 at least 9 people have died before they received any compensation and fewer than five people have been offered the top level of “Impact on Life” payment.”95

84.Wendy Williams told us that the compensation scheme is not currently working and is the single issue that is raised the most with her when she does outreach work. The Home Office envisaged there would be 15,000 claimants as part of the scheme but as yet only a fraction of these have come forward to make a claim.96 Mr David Lammy MP described the situation as a “gross insult” and source of immense frustration among the Black community. In particular, he criticised the decision by the Government to set the threshold for evidential requirements for eligibility for compensation as “beyond reasonable doubt”.97

85.The Home Office urgently needs to rebuild trust with those communities affected by the Windrush scandal by fixing the compensation scheme, including by lowering the standard of proof for evidential requirements to “the balance of probabilities”; and ensuring that those affected receive the compensation that they are entitled to without further delay.


86.Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 to the ECHR gives us the right to participate in free and fair elections. Ensuring people can exercise this right on an equal basis and therefore participate in democracy is essential, in order to achieve greater equality in society. It is therefore of serious concern to us that 25% of Black voters in Great Britain are not registered to vote compared to a 17% average across the population.

87.When we asked Lord Woolley about the reasons for the persistent inequality in this area, he told us:

“Part of the problem is that we have hundreds of thousands of young people, particularly black and minority ethnic, who still see our institutions, particularly the police, as against us and not for us. They do not see the policies of central and local government working for us, so they say to me, “Why bother? Why engage in this rigged system?”98

88.In this context we are concerned at the potentially racial discriminatory impact of the Government proposals to implement measures requiring voters to present an approved form of photographic ID at polling stations in UK parliamentary elections in Great Britain and local elections in England. According to the Electoral Commission approximately 3.5m electors (7.5% of the electorate) would have none of the forms of photo ID highlighted.99 Runnymede Trust notes that BME people are likely to be disproportionately among them:

“The government’s own data shows that white people are most likely to hold one form of photo ID–76% hold a full driving licence. But 38% of Asian people, nearly a third of people of mixed ethnicity (31%), and more than half of Black people (48%) do not.”100

89.As a means of increasing the number of Black people registered to vote Lord Woolley told us that he believed that automatic voter registration was a “no brainer”.101 Automatic voter registration could be introduced in the UK in a number of ways but broadly speaking would mean a shift from the current system which relies on individuals registering themselves ahead of the deadline for election day. Under automatic voter registration, individuals would be directly enrolled by public officials using existing public data sources. In evidence to this inquiry the Electoral Commission said that research they had published in July 2019 found that such a shift would be “feasible from a technical and operational perspective and could be implemented without radically altering the structure of the electoral registration system in the UK”.102

90.The Government must consult on the implementation of automatic voter registration as a means of increasing democratic participation among Black people and other ethnic minorities and reducing the registration gap between Black and white people.

12 Home Office, Windrush Lessons Learned Review: independent review conducted by Wendy Williams, HC 93, March 2020

15 Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Race in the workplace: The McGregor-Smith review, 28 February 2017

17 The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, Report of an Inquiry by Sir William MacPherson of Cluny, Cm 4262-I, February 1999

18 Joint Committee on Human Rights (2019), Third Report of Session 2019, The Right to Privacy (Article 8) and the Digital Revolution, HL Paper 14 / HC 122

19 Joint Committee on Human Rights, Sixth Report of Session 2017–19, Windrush generation detention, HL Paper 160 / HC 1034

20 Joint Committee on Human Rights, Seventh Report of Session 2016–17, Mental Health and Deaths in Prison: Interim Report, HL Paper 167 / HC 893

21 Home Affairs Committee, First Report of Session 2016–17, Police diversity, HC 27

22 Home Affairs Committee, Twelfth Report of Session 2008–09, The Macpherson Report—Ten Years On, HC 427. The Home Affairs Committee has concluded its The Macpherson Report: Twenty Years On inquiry and it is expected to publish a report soon.

23 Justice Committee, First Report of Session 2019, Prison Governance, HC 191

24 Justice Committee, Sixteenth Report of Session 2017–19, Prison population 2022: planning for the future, HC 483. The Justice Committee is currently undertaking an inquiry into Children and young people in custody. Evidence thus far has suggested that race disproportionality among young people in custody is still a significant issue.

25 Women and Equalities Committee, Tenth Report of Session 2017–19, Enforcing the Equality Act: the law and the role of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, HC 1470

26 Q1 [Baroness Lawrence]

28 Home Office, The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry. Report of an Inquiry, Cm 4262-I, February 1999

29 Home Office, Windrush Lessons Learned Review: independent review conducted by Wendy Williams, HC 93, March 2020

31 Q1 [Mr David Lammy MP]

32 Q10 [Lord Woolley of Woodford]

33 Q31 [Celine Henry]

34 Equality and Human Rights Commission, Is Britain Fairer? The state of equality and human rights 2018, June 2019

35 Knight M, Bunch K, Tuffnell D, Shakespeare J, Kotnis R, Kenyon S, Kurinczuk JJ (Eds.) on behalf of MBRRACE-UK. Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care - Lessons learned to inform maternity care from the UK and Ireland Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths and Morbidity 2015–17. Oxford: National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford 2019.

36 Royal College of Midwives (RHR0001)

37 Q17 [Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent]

38 Lilian Anekwe, “Ethnic disparities in maternal care”, British Medical Journal, 2020;368:m442

39 Lilian Anekwe, “Ethnic disparities in maternal care”, British Medical Journal, 2020;368:m442

41 Knight M, Bunch K, Tuffnell D, Shakespeare J, Kotnis R, Kenyon S, Kurinczuk JJ (Eds.) on behalf of MBRRACE-UK. Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care - Lessons learned to inform maternity care from the UK and Ireland Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths and Morbidity 2015–17. Oxford: National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford 2019.

42 Knight M, Bunch K, Tuffnell D, Jayakody H, Shakespeare J, Kotnis R, Kenyon S, Kurinczuk JJ (Eds.) on behalf of MBRRACE-UK. Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care - Lessons learned to inform maternity care from the UK and Ireland Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths and Morbidity 2014–16. Oxford: National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford 2018

43 NHS, Online version of the NHS Long Term Plan - Chapter 3: Further progress on care quality and outcomes, Maternity and neonatal services

45 Q14 [Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent]

46 Q12 [Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent]

47 Knight M, Bunch K, Cairns A, Cantwell R, Cox P, Kenyon S, Kotnis R, Lucas DN, Lucas S, Marshall L, NelsonPiercy C, Page L, Rodger A, Shakespeare J, Tuffnell D, Kurinczuk JJ on behalf of MBRRACE-UK. Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care Rapid Report: Learning from SARS-CoV-2-related and associated maternal deaths in the UK March – May 2020 Oxford: National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford 2020.

49 Public Health England, Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19, August 2020

50 Public Health England, Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19, August 2020. People of Bangladeshi ethnicity had the highest risk of death, at around twice that when compared to people of white British ethnicity.

51 Runnymede Trust (RHR0011)

52 Q1 [Lord Woolley of Woodford]

53 Runnymede Trust (RHR0011)

54 Q32 [Burphy Zumu]

55 Home Office, Stop and Search, 19 March 2020

57 Ministry of Justice and HM Prison Service, National Statistics, Offender management statistics quarterly: January to March 2020, July 2020. According to the 2011 National Census, Population of England and Wales, August 2018

58 Children’s Rights Alliance for England/Just for Kids Law (RHR0022)

59 Youth Justice Board/Ministry of Justice Youth Justice Statistics 2018/19, 30 January 2020

61 Q1 [Mr David Lammy MP]

62 Clinks (RHR0008)

63 Clinks (RHR0008)

64 Home Office, Stop and Search, 19 March 2020

65 See, for example, Gillon and Quinton v UK, ECHR [2010], Application No. 4158/10; and Beghal v UK, ECHR [2019], Application No. 4755/16.

66 United Families & Friends Campaign (RHR0010), see also Michelle De Sousa (RHR0021), Mr Gurpal Virdi (RHR0004)

67 Q40 [Celine Henry]

70 Q2 [Baroness Lawrence]

71 Q2 [Baroness Lawrence]

72 Those in policing often call these searches ‘pre-condition searches’ because section 60 of the 1994 Act requires specific preconditions to be met before senior officers can authorise their use

73 Home Office and College of Policing, Best use of Stope and Search Scheme, 2014

74 This includes all of the Regulations made under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 powers (at the time of writing, 83 Regulations have been made in respect of England). For example, this includes the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 2020/350), as amended; the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (England) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 2020/568); the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings on Public Transport) (England) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 2020/592), as amended; the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 2020/684), as amended; the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 3) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 2020/750); the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 2020/791), as amended; the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions on Holding of Gatherings and Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 2020/907); the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Local COVID-19 Alert Level) (Medium) (England) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 2020/1103); the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 2020/1045); the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Local COVID-19 Alert Level) (High) (England) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 2020/1104); and the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Local COVID-19 Alert Level) (Very High) (England) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 2020/1105).

75 The Metropolitan Police Service, Stop and Search Dashboard, accessed by House of Commons Library on 20 October 2020

76Analysis of Coronavirus fines published”, National Police Chief’s Council, 27 July 2020

77 The College of Policing and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (RHR0025)

78 See, for example, the recommendations of the Angiolini Review and Joint Committee on Human Rights, Seventh Report of the Session 2019–20, The Government’s response to COVID-19: human rights implications, HL Paper 125 / HC 265

79 Independent Office for Police Conduct, Deaths during or following police contact: Statistics for England and Wales 2019/20, October 2020. The ethnicity of one person is not recorded at this time.

81 Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody (RHR0017)

82 United Families & Friends Campaign (RHR0010), Michelle De Sousa (RHR0021)

83 INQUEST (RHR0024)

84 INQUEST (RHR0024)

86 Amnesty International UK (RHR0009), White (RHR0016), Faith Osifo (RHR0019)

87 Joint Committee on Human Rights, Sixth Report of Session 2017–19, Windrush generation detention,
HL Paper 160 / HC 1034

88 Home Office, Windrush Lessons Learned Review: independent review conducted by Wendy Williams, HC 93, March 2020

89 Amnesty International UK (RHR0009)

90 Q3 [Wendy Williams]

91 Faith Osifo (RHR0019)

92 HC Deb, 21 July 2020, col 2020WS

93Home Office hasn’t learned from Windrush”, The Guardian - Letters, 14 October 2020

96 Q3 [Wendy Williams]

97 Q4 [Mr David Lammy MP]

98 Q7 [Lord Woolley of Woodford]

99 House of Commons Library, Voter ID: Key facts and figures, 23 October 2019

100 Runnymede Trust (RHR0011)

101 Q7 [Lord Woolley of Woodford]

102 The Electoral Commission (RHR0015)

Published: 11 November 2020