Discrimination is a broad topic that has weathered the test of time. This misbehavior still exists after the efforts of all humanity to eliminate such acts. Every person may experience such action at some point in their life, especially the marginalized and the minority.
But what if you experienced discrimination from the police? Where do you report such misconduct? In this article, we will discuss what is discrimination according to the Equality Act of 2010 and show you where and how to report these actions.
What is Discrimination?
Discrimination is such a broad term that it may be commonly misunderstood by many. This term may even be used against the police on many occasions. In this instance, we shall dissect what discrimination means per the Equality Act of 2010.
Discrimination is a maltreatment of a person because of a characteristic they may share with others.Equality Act of 2010
Discrimination could be in the form of, as follows:
- Direct discrimination – a person receives this kind of discrimination when they are treated less favorably due to some protected characteristic
- Indirect discrimination – a policy or practice that must be ideally implemented to all people, but a protected group of people are at a disadvantage because of said policy or practice
- Harassment – unruly actions that can be harmful to dignity or create an intimidating, hostile, or degrading environment
- Victimization – a person complaining because they have experienced discrimination
As repeatedly mentioned above, there are protected characteristics in persons or a particular group. Here are some of the protected characteristics of every person:
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Religion and belief
- Sex and sexual orientation
There is also additional protection for people with disabilities as follows:
- A disabled person is treated unequally because of said disability, and the treatment cannot be justified objectively.
- Failure of the police force to treat disabled people fairly is subject to discrimination per Summary guide VI IPCC guidelines for handling allegations of discrimination.
The police force also follows the Standards of Professional Behavior, wherein they must protect other groups not mentioned in the Equality Act. These include sex workers, homeless people, and even sub-culture groups like emos, goths, punks, and the like.
These guidelines apply to all allegations of discrimination arising in police complaints, recordable conduct matters, and death and severe injury investigations.
How to Determine Discrimination?
Discrimination by the police force may be difficult to identify and distinguish. Conduct matters regarding discrimination may be recorded under the Independent Office for Police Conduct’s (IOPC) guidelines.
All complaints should be handled with seriousness, but it will always depend on the gravity of the case. All cases must consider the severity of the allegation of discrimination, the potential or actual harm that it caused, and the potential for learning and improvement in handling such cases. A graver case can mean a more comprehensive investigation of the case, which leads to further clarification of the accuracy of the information, even if this information appears illogical, unreasonable, or insufficient.
Here are some factors that may affect the seriousness of alleged discrimination:
- Impact – particularly foreseeable harmful impact, including failure to take account of a person’s known vulnerability or known community tensions.
- Intent – any indication that the alleged discrimination was intentional or malicious.
- Serious negligence or recklessness – for example, serious failures to follow force policy where the person should have known to do so.
- Repeat behavior – if the alleged behavior fits with previous patterns of behavior or previous complaints.
- Level of responsibility – senior officers have a particular commitment to uphold standards and set an example that should be taken into account in this assessment.
As mentioned on the Standards of Professional Behavior, investigating officers should practice equality among people and be aware of the diversity of cultures and mindsets. The skill level and experience of officers should also be considered. The terms of reference for the investigation should clearly refer to and address any discrimination allegations raised.
Comprehending Allegations of Discrimination
What is the process of the investigation of alleged discrimination? The investigating officer should look first at the said allegation, from the types of assumptions, prejudice, and bias that may influence the police officer’s decisions, actions, and behavior.
An investigating officer should ask themselves these guide questions:
- What does the complainant say about why they think they were discriminated against?
- What do the investigating officer know about the type of discrimination alleged? – through other complaints, training, local knowledge, etc.
- What else do the investigating officer need to find out? – drawing on expertise, research, and reports.
Where to Report Discrimination? Know Your Rights
Unfair discrimination by the police must be reported immediately by filing a complaint directly to the local police force. Learn more about the methods of filing and drafting an effective police complaint here.
If you want to get more information about discrimination and equality rights, you may contact Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS). They will help you reach an advocate against discrimination, BSL, or an interpreter.
Discrimination takes place in many places, from your neighborhood to your internet personality. It victimizes everybody and thus must not be treated like your typical everyday activity. Every person must know their rights when they experience maltreatment, so they must have at least an idea about the Equality Act of 2010. When a public authority discriminates against you, you may file a complaint against them.
You should have clear objectives on how you want the discrimination case to be resolved. You may want to ask everyone to stop discriminating against you or make the discriminator apologize to you. Appealing to the organization to take a look at your complaint and a change in the organization’s policy can also help alleviate the problems of discrimination. Staff training on discrimination issues or monetary compensation for the stress or injury inflicted on you can also help address the said concern.
Resolving the problem at the local police force is the first step in addressing discrimination. Try first to mediate your case with them as it will help you avoid high legal costs compared to filing a case to the courts. Be mindful that there is a time limit on filing complaints to the authorities. You must file a complaint within six months of the act of discrimination. So you must immediately act if you experience such misbehavior, especially if it comes from people with authority.