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Race Matters

Do you want to help shape how policing is experienced by people of Black heritage and ethnically / racially minoritised backgrounds?

You can make a difference

If you want to be involved in this work or receive regular updates, you can register your interest here.

The National Police Race Action Plan and the report on Identifying disproportionality in the Avon and Somerset criminal justice system (PDF), help us understand long-standing challenges and disparities faced by Black heritage and racially / ethnically minoritised  communities, in their interactions with the police.

In response to the reports, we commit to reduce disproportionality in the criminal justice system and increase trust and confidence in the police, so we can deliver an outstanding, anti-racist policing service for all our communities.

We aim to do this by focussing on our use of stop and search and our HR, recruitment and retention practises.

How you can get involved

Community oversight

Do you want to be part of an independent community scrutiny and oversight board, which will ensure our Race Matters work is delivered with the voices of Black heritage and ethnically / racially minoritised people at its core?

If you want to be involved in this work or receive regular updates, register your interest in Race Matters.

Independent Advisory Groups

Our IAGs and Young Person’s IAGs are forums for community representatives to work with us on local issues. Find out about IAGs and become a member.

Neighbourhood Policing

Our Neighbourhood Policing Teams build relationships with community groups and leaders in their area. They attend local events, visit schools and youth groups to support in the prevention, detection and resolution of crime and anti-social behaviour. To get in touch with your local policing team, go to the Your Area section of our website and start typing your address.

How we will improve the diversity of our workforce

Understanding our workforce’s experiences

Survey responses about the wellbeing of police officers and staff of Black heritage, will help shape policies and training to ensure the appropriate guidance and support is available.

Outreach team

Our outreach team encourage people from diverse backgrounds to apply for jobs with the police, mentor them through the recruitment process and provide support to increase their prospects within the service.


Training packages are being rolled out to support the workforce’s understanding of Black history and its relevance to policing.

Positive action programme

The programme supports new applicants with protected characteristics in their recruitment journey and promotion boards, to ensure we have better representation at higher ranks

Find out more about our commitment to increasing diversity in our workforce.

How we will be fair and reduce disproportionality using our powers

Stop and Search

All officers receive training on how to conduct fair and respectful stop searches. The use of body worn video is mandatory during stop searches and footage is reviewed to identify learning.

Every person who is stopped and searched, is entitled to a receipt of that transaction. Development of a new receipt will make it easier for them to provide feedback.

Children and young people

We are supporting young people in understanding their rights in stop and search and demonstrating what a good stop and search should look like. We are working with youth groups and community representatives to ensure young people’s voices are heard. We are reviewing our processes and use of the power on young people from Black heritage and ethnically / racially minoritised backgrounds, as they are affected the most.

Recording use of Section 163 of the Road Traffic Act

This is the power that officers use to pull vehicles over and ask them to stop. We now record all stops under this power, including the ethnicity of the driver and any passengers, so we can address any disproportionality.

Trauma informed practise

Multi-agency training gives officers insight into the traumas felt by people from Black heritage and ethnically / racially minoritised communities to ensure fairer, more sensitive policing.

Use of force refresher training

Annual refresher training helps us to reflect on learning about how using force can affect our communities, especially those from Black and racially / ethnically minoritised backgrounds.

Use of force training for new officers

Training will focus on working effectively in culturally diverse situations and the impact of our actions.

Out of court disposals

We aim to decrease the disproportionality of Black heritage and ethnically / racially minoritised backgrounds getting an out of court disposal, or deferred prosecution and reduce the number of people entering the criminal justice system.

Lived experience advisors

These individuals will support the reviewing of complaints by people from diverse backgrounds, bringing different perspectives.

How we will protect and seek justice

We want to be a police service that protects people from a Black heritage or ethnically / racially minoritised background from crime, and seek justice for them.

Victim service standard

We are exploring ways to bring fairness to the way victims are treated and redress the difference in the way people of Black heritage experience crime and report it to us.

Hate crime

Building a network of hate crime champions, developing officers’ skills, and using lived experience advisors, will help us better understand the impact of hate crime in communities and for our staff.

How we work with other agencies and our communities

Recommendations for police from the Identifying Disproportionality in the Avon and Somerset Criminal Justice System report, focus largely on stop and search practices and our HR, recruitment and retention policies.

A multi-agency steering committee ensures the partner agencies making up the local criminal justice board, work together to reduce disproportionality and become anti-racist.

Children and young people

Violence Reduction Partnership – Partner agencies work together to support young people in Avon and Somerset who are most at risk of criminal exploitation and harm.

Police Early Intervention Teams work alongside the Violence Reduction Partnership, Neighbourhood Policing Teams and local schools to educate young people on different crime types, build relationships and divert them from crime.

Crime Prevention Through Sport Fund – The fund aims to support projects that use sport and physical activity to reduce violence, crime and anti-social behaviour. We work with community organisations to deliver the projects.

Behind the Badge

Workshops, together with a number of different youth engagement organisations, allow police officers with different backgrounds to engage with young people in the community, talking through their lived and professional experiences.

Cultural Awareness workshops

Officers and staff visit different religious settings to get an understanding of the cultures in their force area. The sessions help to build relationships between different communities and the police.

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