Bias Based Policing

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Bias Based Policing

Bias Based Policing

Summary on Bias Based Policing

Bias based policing is defined as the act of taking actions against an individual using judgments based on ethnicity, gender, race, economic position, religion, age or sexual orientation. The term “driving while Black” is one that the Blacks and Latinos in the United states of America have used to refer an act of bias policing that seems to be targeting their specific races more than it targets the others. According to Ioimo et al (2007 , p. 270), the Blacks and Latinos came up with this term after realizing that a bigger population of these minority groups are stopped on the road more frequently than other citizens of a different race even when they have committed no offence.

The greatest disadvantage of bias based policing is that it creates a rift between police officers and the communities that they serve which is in itself is a risk to the stability of a community. In 2011, it was reported that in the United States, Black Americans make up 38% of the prison population despite the fact that only 13% of the entire population are African Americans. In Australia, 2.5% of the population is indigenous people but the same group contributes to 82% of prisoners in the country. These alarming over representations are exhibitions of “driving while black” effects (Ting, 2011).

African-Australians are also another group that is affected by this phenomenon. A recent report by Human Rights Law Centre (2013) explains that in some Australian areas like Flemington and North Melbourne, the number of African Australians that are likely to be stopped in the traffic was 2.4 times more than those that are not despite the fact that these groups of people are not highly represented in crime related statistics. This is a reflection of the fact that driving while black is highly present in Australia whether it is intended or not (EHRC, 2013).

Thesis Statement

Personally, I am against the phenomenon driving while black. It is unfair to impose negative judgments on an individual with the basis of their physical color. This phenomenon has adverse effects on the relationship between policemen and the community. It may create violence and strife between the two which may lead to death and unending conflict. Secondly, the police force performs best if the society that they work in trusts them. If the society loses trust in their police, crime rates will increase including crimes against police officers.

In addition to that, bias based policing is a deprivation of human rights. Freedom from racial discrimination is a major human right that is in the international law as well as the Victorian and Commonwealth laws. A violation of this law to the African Australians and the indigenous Australian people will affect individuals and families. Lastly, bias based policing has effects on the health, social and economic life of those that are affected. It leads to a breach of trust and access to justice is inhibited (Human Rights Law Centre, 2013).

Possible Solutions used by Governments

One of the main solutions of the bias based policing that the government has adopted is that the police receive training on this issue and racial profiling during their training and in training sessions that are organized by their departments. As explained by Ioimo et al (2007, p. 284), many police departments have a written policy that addresses bias based policing. This written statement is then distributed to the police during the training sessions or through other means. These two solution are aimed at ensuring that the police understand the stand of the government on the issue.

A third solution is the enforcement of set rules and policies. It is reported that the enforcement was at 68%. This rate is low and means that necessary steps should be taken to ensure that the policies are fully enforced. Fourthly, a method of receipt policy was introduced by the Flemington Kensington Community Legal Centre. It required that once a driver is stopped and searched, a receipt is given out to show details and reasons of the search. In addition to these, some departments have put video cameras in patrol cars so as to track any stops. This was enhanced by training on how to use the video cameras (Ioimo et al, 2007).

The public is also encouraged to report cases of bias based judgments. Most governments are working to ensure that all complaints are investigated after which communication is made to the individual. This decision will help the public to trust in the police force, report bias cases which consequently reduce bias based policing. An important way of encouraging the public to reduce bias based cases by informing them on all measures the police are putting in place. Transparency and communication are key in gaining trust of the public.

Lastly, as suggested by Human Rights Law Centre (2013), the police force should carry out frequent data collection in order to analyze the impact of the stop and searches they have conducted on specific racial groups. This analysis will help the police in understanding if they are delivering justice as they ought or are being unfair to specific people. This method will help in continuous progress evaluation that will eventually combat bias based policing.


Human Rights Law Centre (2013), Human Rights in police stop and search practices, Submission to Victoria Police, 15th August 2013.

Ting, I., (2011), Aboriginal crime and punishment: incarceration rates rise under neoliberalism. Viewed August 21, 2014 from < prison-rate-continues-to-rise-is-neoliberalism-at-play/>

Ioimo, R., Tears, R., Meadows, L., Becton, B.J & Charles, M. (2007). The police view of bias based policing. Sage Publications, New York.

Equality and Human Rights Commission (2013). Stop and think again: Towards race equality in police PACE stop and search. Viewed August 21, 2014 from < again/>.

Flemington Kensington Community Legal Centre (2013). Submission to Victoria Police, 30 July 2013, Chapters 1 & 2.