Race equality framework for Scotland 2016 to 2030

This framework sets out our approach to promoting race equality and tackling racism and inequality between 2016 and 2030.

2. Community Cohesion and Safety

Our Vision for 2030:

We build good race relations and community cohesion across all communities, and all minority ethnic individuals feel safe, protected and included, and experience less racism.

The Scottish Government is determined to lead the way in Europe in extending togetherness and highlighting Scotland's broad solidarity by demonstrating the integral role and belongingness of minority ethnic communities in Scotland. The commitment to equality within Scotland's society as well as its institutions and structures has been a focus of much of our previous work linked to race equality, for example the One Scotland campaign and activities around the National Outcome 'We take pride in a strong, fair and inclusive national identity'.

The relationship between community cohesion, safety and discrimination was clearly underlined throughout the evidence gathered for the development of the Framework. In particular, individuals from both community groups and public bodies who took part in involvement activities stressed that the day-to-day realities of discrimination and racism are the key underlying factors which negatively impact on a sense of togetherness, add to isolation and weaken bonds. The importance of ensuring all people have a stake in their community through creating opportunities to participate in local decision making, jobs and education was also raised along with opportunities for new positive approaches to race equality in policing and justice. People asked for more to be done to recognise the contribution made by local grassroots community groups and volunteers who work actively to broaden mutual networks of support that underpin healthy, happy, connected, vibrant, supportive and safe communities.

We want to build cohesion and connectedness, and will work with partners to strengthen approaches to reducing prejudice and discrimination, promote community cohesion, improve support for people who have faced racism and support activities which increase safety and confidence in the criminal justice system.

Our key goals:

6. There is greater cohesion between all communities in Scotland

Many people from minority ethnic communities in Scotland were born here or have lived here for most of their lives. Scotland is home, too, for recent migrants and the generations within these communities that will be born in future years.

However, there is evidence that not everyone accepts minority ethnic people as an equal part of Scotland's society. [7] This is a major barrier to community cohesion in Scotland.

Figure 4: Scottish social attitudes 2010 [8]

Figure 4: Scottish social attitudes 2010

Increasing community cohesion is vitally important to tackling racism and racial inequality, and to building a strong, fair and inclusive national identity. Action is needed to ensure we meet this ambition and to build a Scotland where all feel a shared sense of belonging, with effective approaches based on evidence about what works to make communities more cohesive.

In addition to this targeted action, many other areas of work within the Framework are expected to have a positive impact on community cohesion; in particular, the provisions on improving workforce representation (in the Employability, Employment and Income section) and the provisions within the section on Participation and Representation.

To achieve this goal, we will:

  • Undertake work to better understand the context of community cohesion in Scotland and identify effective practice in community cohesion work, using the results to inform collaborative approaches with key partners in the public and third sectors
  • Explore ways to support public bodies in implementing the 'fostering good relations' element of the Public Sector Equality Duties with regard to race equality and community cohesion

7. Access to justice and safety for minority ethnic individuals is improved and the effectiveness of the justice process in dealing with racism is reviewed

The Scottish Government takes a zero tolerance approach to racist harassment and hate crime. No one should have to face these issues in Scotland today, yet in 2014-15 there were 3,785 charges relating to racist hate crime, the equivalent of 72 hate crimes per week. Race hate crimes continue to make up the largest proportion of hate crimes in Scotland.

Figure 5: Hate crime charges 2010-2015 [9]

Figure 5: Hate crime charges 2010-2015

We are clear that hate crime and prejudice have no place in 21st-century Scotland, and are committed to preventing and eradicating them. As part of our approach to this, in 2015 we established an Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime, Prejudice and Community Cohesion to look in more depth at these issues across the range of characteristics which hate crime legislation applies to in Scotland. [10]

Whilst much activity has been undertaken by Scottish Government and Police Scotland in recent years to encourage people to report hate crime, under-reporting is still an issue. Increasing confidence in the criminal justice system and ensuring initiatives like Third Party Reporting work effectively may be part of the solution to this.

A particular issue which came through strongly in our community engagement activities was concern about the use of stop and search powers, and their potential impact on people within minority ethnic communities. While available data for stop and search activity in Scotland does not indicate that there is disproportionate searching of those from minority ethnic groups, it is recognised that methods of data collection have not been as effective as they could be and this is being taken forward as part of Police Scotland's ongoing improvement around the use of stop and search.

The Advisory Group on Stop and Search which reported to the Scottish Government in August 2015 did not specifically examine stop and search issues for minority ethnic groups, however it did include guidance on how ethnicity monitoring should be conducted in its Draft Code of Practice on Stop and Search. To ensure the system is effective, its implementation and impact needs to be monitored and evaluated on an ongoing basis.

To achieve this goal, we will:

  • Ensure effective engagement of minority ethnic communities, particularly young people, in considering what more can be done to tackle issues of discrimination and hate crime, to ensure their lived experience informs this work
  • Work with Police Scotland and other key stakeholders to identify ways of encouraging better reporting of hate crime, including exploring potential improvements in the Third Party Reporting system
  • Ensure effective engagement of minority ethnic communities in the development of the Scottish Government's Strategic Police Priorities
  • Work with Police Scotland and other key stakeholders, including the Scottish Police Authority, equalities and human rights organisations and organisations representing the interests of children and young people, to develop an effective process for monitoring and evaluating the impact of stop and search practice on minority ethnic communities

8. Scotland's police workforce is better able to tackle racism and promote equality and community cohesion in the delivery of police services

Various activities have been undertaken to look at issues of community confidence in Policing services, including recent work by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland ( HMICS). Nevertheless, a range of individuals involved in the development process for the Framework expressed concerns about relationships between minority ethnic communities and the police. These perceptions show that more action is needed to ensure minority ethnic communities have trust in Police Scotland, and can be assured of a high quality police service which responds to their needs.

To achieve this, practical knowledge on racism, race equality and cultural awareness is needed within the police force. This was raised in our engagement activities both by community members and by practitioners who participated in our Strategic Action Forums. This knowledge could be most appropriately delivered through enhancing the existing training available to police staff to ensure they are equipped to tackle racism, engage with communities effectively and promote equality and community cohesion in the delivery of police services.

To achieve this goal, we will:

  • Work with the Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland to promote effective equality and intercultural competency training within initial training for the police workforce, combined with appropriate CPD for those already in post

9. Police Scotland's workforce better reflects the diversity of its communities

Representation of minority ethnic communities within the Police workforce was raised as a key factor by both community and public sector participants in our engagement activities; both groups felt that having more minority ethnic police would have a positive impact on community relations.

Aside from the potential benefits of improved service provision, increasing minority ethnic representation in the police workforce is necessary from an employment equality point of view. In 2015, only 1% of Police Scotland's workforce were from a minority ethnic background.

To achieve this goal, we will:

  • Work with the Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland to promote positive action to increase the number of minority ethnic entrants to the police workforce, and to improve opportunities for development and promotion, to reflect the minority ethnic population in Scotland


Email: race-equality-team@gov.scot

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