LONDON — British police statistics show that black and ethnic minority Londoners were more likely than their white counterparts to be fined or arrested for breaking coronavirus lockdown rules barring gatherings and non-essential travel.
Metropolitan Police figures show that black people received 26% of the 973 fines handed out by police between March 27 and May 14 and accounted for 31% of arrests. They make up about 12% of London’s population.
People from Asian, black, mixed and other backgrounds received more than half of fines and arrests, but account for about 40% of the city’s population.
The police force said the reasons for the discrepancy “are likely to be complex and reflect a range of factors.”
Owen West, a former police chief superintendent, said racism was a potential factor. He said “the U.K. police service has massive issues with discrimination … and I really do think now is the time to confront it.”
The statistics are the latest evidence that ethnic minority communities are being hit disproportionately hard during the coronavirus pandemic.
They were published a day after a government-commissioned report confirmed that ethnic minority people in Britain experienced a higher death rate from the coronavirus than white compatriots. The government has vowed to uncover and confront the issues behind the difference.