Speed Reads

police misconduct

Adding just 1.5 percent more minority officers to a police force can majorly decrease racial profiling

Increasing the racial diversity of a police department by a very small amount can have an outsized influence on the department's interactions with minority community members, explains a Washington Post analysis by Sounman Hong, a professor at South Korea's Yonsei University.

Hong reports on the results of his study of police forces in England and Wales over the course of a decade, from 2000 to 2010. He found that increasing a police force's proportion of minority officers by just 1.5 percent correlated with a 20 to 39 percent decrease in minority subjects of stop-and-frisk encounters. (Stop-and-frisk practices have been associated with dramatic racial discrimination in New York City and elsewhere, the United Kingdom included.)

The same increase in officer diversity also correlated "with an 11 percent reduction in the number of upheld complaints per officer," by which Hong means allegations of officer misconduct that were substantiated by the department. Hong argues these asymmetric results are due to the increasing influence of ethnic minority officers on their teams, which "promotes a discussion of organizational integrity regarding the treatment of minority citizens" and causes "the organization's ethical climate and integrity [to] improve."