Anti-Racial Profiling training

The Flemington Kensington Community Legal Centre (FKCLC) believe strongly that a comprehensive and integrated recruitment, selection, training and professional development regime within Victoria police aimed at reducing and preventing racially biased policing will form a significant contribution to Victoria’s international reputation and vastly improve the ways in which Victoria Police support our diverse multi-cultural communities.

We need to go beyond ‘sensitivity training’ and cultural- awareness raising sessions.

Members of Victoria Police have demonstrated clearly explicit and direct ‘racial bias’ in their interactions with some members of the Victorian community.

Further, recent studies indicate that the basis of discriminatory behaviour is not only the fault of ill-intentioned individual members of Victoria Police. ‘Implicit bias’, means that well-meaning and tolerant police officers, even those with egalitarian views and opinions, may also demonstrate racial bias in their interactions with members of the public.

This section will focus on the prevalence and impact of implicit bias on the policing of ethnic minorities and training methodologies aimed at reducing its impact on modern operational policing.

Victoria Police can take the steps necessary to ensure that it employs world class law enforcement training techniques to be most effective ‘in reducing harm and maintaining a safe, secure and orderly society’,[1] whilst upholding the human rights of all Victorians.[2]



[1] Chief Commissioner Ken Lay, ‘Foreword’ Victoria Police Blueprint 2012-15 (Victoria Police, 2012).

[2] Victoria Police, ‘Effective Police Service Delivery’ Victoria Police Blueprint 2012-15 (Victoria Police, 2012) Priority #2.



“At the basic level, law enforcement recruits should be challenged to identify key police decisions and scenarios that are at greatest risk of manifesting bias, such as traffic stops, consent searches, reasonable suspicion to frisk, and other procedures-and then reflect on the potential impact of implicit bias on their perceptions and behaviours in those scenarios.”

Race, gender, age, disability, and sexual orientation all have the potential to impact and influence decisions. Further, seasoned officers should be similarly challenged at in-service and other training venues.

Supervisors should be challenged to consider how implicit biases may manifest not only in themselves but also in their subordinates.” 

Connecticut Police Commissioner, Tracey Gove

Tracey G Gove, ‘Implicit Bias and Law Enforcement’ (2011) The Police Chief



Our Recomendations for Victoria Police

It is of critical importance that Victoria Police as an institution understands what constitutes racial bias and racial profiling – how it is identified, the nature of its features and how it can be trained against.

Whilst some overt racists undoubtedly exist in Victoria Police, as they do throughout society, institutional racism encapsulates much more than that. It includes ‘casual racism’,  the unthinking application of racial stereotypes.  But what has not been acknowledged that racial profiling does indeed exist in Victoria Police, not as some formal policy, but within and well beyond the “police canteen”, based on gross misconceptions and stereotypes.

Victoria Police needs to ensure that every single member of Victoria Police and those entering it completely understands what constitutes racial profiling.

Victoria Police needs to articulate a clear definition and refutation of racial profiling as a legitimate police tactic along the lines of the Racial Profiling Policy of the Ottawa Police Service.

Police training should be immediately audited and critically reviewed to ensure that:

  • police stops and searches are conducted in compliance with the rights to privacy, freedom of movement, freedom from arbitrary detention and right to equal treatment AND are only conducted where there is a clearly defined reason to conduct the stop such as an offence has been detected OR through statutory powers as for Preliminary Breath Testing;
  • searches by consent are only conducted where the person provides full and informed consent and evidence of the consent is obtained in writing (as required in the Victoria Police Manual).  Full informed consent requires that police inform the person that they are free to refuse and will not be arrested or suffer detriment if they refuse; and
  • police are aware of the statistical discrepancy between the average number of offences committed by ethnic minorities and the average number of stop and searches conducted on groups;
  • police are educated, by public health experts about the serious mental health detriment caused to individuals and communities as a result of racial profiling.
  • Police are educated about the benefits gained by preventing racial profiling:
    • Improved relationships with minority communities;
    • Improves the rate of arrest and successful prosecution;
    • Reduces time wasted on stopping people when no reasonable grounds exist to belief the person has committed an offence;
    • Increases the transparency and integrity of police practices.

With extensive input from community representatives, Victoria Police should immediately introduce a comprehensive and integrated training program that aims to eliminate unconscious racial/religious biases (anti-bias training).

Anti-Bias training should include training on the following:

  • an awareness of police officers’ own internally held bias’ and prejudices;
  • harmful racial and other stereotypes that are pervasive in society;
  • methods and tools to act in an operational capacity in a non-biased way.

Victoria Police can take the steps necessary to ensure that it employs world class law enforcement training techniques to be most effective ‘in reducing harm and maintaining a safe, secure and orderly society’,[3] whilst upholding the human rights of all Victorians.[4]

[1] Flemington and Kensington Legal Centre Inc ‘Steps to Address Racial Profiling’ < to Address RP>
[2] The VHREOC has indicated its preparedness to work with Victoria Police in monitoring stop and search data and reducing racial discrepancies.
[3] Chief Commissioner Ken Lay, ‘Foreword’ Victoria Police Blueprint 2012-15 (Victoria Police, 2012).
[4] Victoria Police, ‘Effective Police Service Delivery’ Victoria Police Blueprint 2012-15 (Victoria Police, 2012) Priority #2.


Anti-Racial Profiling Source List

Blair, Irene, ‘The Malleability of Automatic Stereotypes and Prejudice’ (2002) 6 Personality and Social Psychology Review 242.


Abstract: The present article reviews evidence for the malleability of automatic stereotypes and prejudice. In contrast to assumptions that such responses are fixed and inescapable, it is shown that automatic stereotypes and prejudice are influenced by, (a) self- and social motives, (b) specific strategies, (c) the perceiver’s focus of attention, and (d) the configuration of stimulus cues. In addition, group members’ individual characteristics are shown to influence the extent to which (global) stereotypes and prejudice are automatically activated. This evidence has significant implications for conceptions of automaticity, models of stereotyping and prejudice, and attitude representation. The review concludes with the description of an initial model of early social information processing.

Please find document here.


Bowling, Ben and Corretta Phillips, ‘Policing Ethnic Minority Communities’ in Tim Newburn (ed) Handbook of Policing (Willan Publishing, 2003) 528.


Introduction: The delivery of policing – whether in the form of ‘force’ or ‘service’ – should not be  greatly inferior for some social groups than others. And yet, the research evidence  shows that, in general, people who are seen as are ‘white’ tend to have a more satisfactory experience of the police than people whose ancestry lies in Asia, Africa  and the ‘islands of the sea’. The so-called ‘colour-line’ that the pioneering sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois (1901/1989: 13) predicted would be the ‘problem of the twentieth century’ can be discerned clearly a hundred years later in the relationship between police and ethnic minority communities in numerous countries around the world. Furthermore, recent shifts in migration patterns have demanded a reconceptualisation of the perception of those who might belong to ‘ethnic minority groups’ and indeed, it is the question of ‘difference’ that has become salient in contemporary societies (Hall 1991, 2000). Such conceptual shifts have implications for the relationship between the police and citizens from minority ethnic communities. In this chapter, we examine policing practices, making comparisons between the policing of ‘white’, ‘black’ and ‘Asian’ communities in Britain.

We begin with a discussion of the history of policing minority ethnic communities and how they have been targeted for particular forms of policing. We look at both ‘public-initiated’ encounters with the police – such as reporting crime – and ‘police-initiated’ encounters such as stop and search and the decisions to arrest and charge. Having looked at the problems in policing, and attempted to explain them, we go on to look at some of the solutions, including the recruitment of a more diverse police service and  renewed accountability mechanisms. We consider the changes that have occurred between the Scarman Inquiry of 1981 and the Lawrence Inquiry of 1999, and we review some of the research that has assessed Post-Lawrence reforms. Through the discussion we also reflect on the 2001 and 2005 terrorist attacks in the US and UK and the implications they have had for contemporary policing. Finally, we point to new directions in the development of research in this field

Please find document here.


Correll, Joshua, ‘Racial bias in the decision to shoot?’ (2009) The Police Chief, 54-58.


Note: This article follows on from Corell et al’s research in ‘The police officer’s dilemma: Using ethnicity to disambiguate potentially threatening individuals’ above.

Please find document here.


Correll, Joshua, Bernadette Park, Charles M Judd, Bernd Wittenbrink and Melody S Sadler, ‘Across the thin blue line: Police officers and racial bias in the decision to shoot’ (2007) 92 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1006.


Abstract: Police officers were compared with community members in terms of the speed and accuracy with which they made simulated decisions to shoot (or not shoot) Black and White targets. Both samples exhibited robust racial bias in response speed. Officers outperformed community members on a number of measures, including overall speed and accuracy. Moreover, although community respondents set the decision criterion lower for Black targets than for White targets (indicating bias), police officers did not. The authors suggest that training may not affect the speed with which stereotype-incongruent targets are processed but that it does affect the ultimate decision (particularly the placement of the decision criterion). Findings from a study in which a college sample received training support this conclusion.

Please find document here.


Correll, Joshua, Bernadette Park, Charles M Judd and Bernd Wittenbrink, ‘The police officer’s dilemma: Using ethnicity to disambiguate potentially threatening individuals’ (2002) 83 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1314.


Abstract: Using a simple video game, the effect of ethnicity on shoot/don’t shoot decisions was examined. African American or White targets, holding guns or other objects, appeared in complex backgrounds. Participants were told to “shoot” armed targets and to “not shoot” unarmed targets. In Study 1, White participants made the correct decision to shoot an armed target more quickly if the target was African American than if he was White, but decided to “not shoot” an unarmed target more quickly if he was White. Study 2 used a shorter time window, forcing this effect into error rates. Study 3 replicated Study 1’s effects and showed that the magnitude of bias varied with perceptions of the cultural stereotype and with levels of contact, but not with personal racial prejudice. Study 4 revealed equivalent levels of bias among both African American and White participants in a community sample. Implications and potential underlying mechanisms are discussed

Please find document here.


Devine, Patricia, ‘Stereotypes and Prejudice: Their Automatic and Controlled Components’ (1989) 56 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 5.


Abstract: Three studies tested basic assumptions derived from a theoretical model based on the dissociation of automatic and controlled processes involved in prejudice. Study I supported the model’s assumption that high- and low-prejudice persons are equally knowledgeable of the cultural stereotype. The model suggests that the stereotype is automatically activated in the presence of a member (or some symbolic equivalent) of the stereotyped group and that Iow-prejudice responses require controlled inhibition of the automatically activated stereotype. Study 2, which examined the effects of automatic stereotype activation on the evaluation of ambiguous stereotype-relevant behaviors performed by a race-unspecified person, suggested that when subjects’ ability to consciously monitor stereotype activation is precluded, both high- and low-prejudice subjects produce stereotype-congruent evaluations of ambiguous behaviors. Study 3 examined high- and low-prejudice subjects’ responses in a consciously directed thought-listing task. Consistent with the model, only low-prejudice subjects inhibited the automatically activated stereotype-congruent thoughts and replaced them with thoughts reflecting equality and negations of the stereotype. The relation between stereotypes and prejudice and implications for prejudice reduction are discussed.


Devine, Patricia et al, ‘Long-Term Reduction in Implicit Race Bias: A Prejudice habit-breaking intervention’ (2012) 48 Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 1267.


Abstract: We developed a multi-faceted prejudice habit-breaking intervention to produce long-term reductions in implicit race bias. The intervention is based on the premise that implicit bias is like a habit that can be broken through a combination of awareness of implicit bias, concern about the effects of that bias, and the application of strategies to reduce bias. In a 12-week longitudinal study, people who received the intervention showed dramatic reductions in implicit race bias. People who were concerned about discrimination or who reported using the strategies showed the greatest reductions. The intervention also led to increases in concern about discrimination and personal awareness of bias over the duration of the study. People in the control group showed none of the above effects. Our results raise the hope of reducing persistent and unintentional forms of discrimination that arise from implicit bias.


Dovidio, John F, Kerry Kawakami, Samuel L Gaertner, ‘Reducing Contemporary Prejudice: Combating Explicit and Implicit Bias at the Individual and Intergroup Level’ in Stuart Oskamp (ed) Reducing prejudice and discrimination (2000 Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers) 137.


Excerpt: In contrast to ‘old-fashioned’ racism, which is open and blatant, aversive racism represents a subtle, often unintentional, form of bias that is characteristic of many White Americans who possess strong egalitarian values and who believe that they are nonprejudiced (Gaertner & Dovidio, 1986; Kovel, 1970). The work on aversive racism primarily considers Whites’ attitudes towards Blacks, although elsewhere we have demonstrated the generalizability of these processes to attitudes towards Latinos (Dovidio, Gaertner, Anastasio & Sanitioso, 1992) and women (Dovidio & Gaertner, 1983). We propose that understanding the nature of contemporary forms of bias, such as aversive racism, can inform the development of strategies and Interventions designed to reduce prejudice.


Duncan, B L ‘Differential perception and attribution of intergroup violence: Testing the lower limits of stereotyping of Blacks’ (1976) 34 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 590.


Abstract: In a modified 4 x 4 factorial design with race (black-white) of the harm-doer and race (black-white) of the victim as the major factors, the phenomenon of differential social perception of intergroup violence was established. White subject s observing a videotape  of purported ongoing interaction occurring in another room, labelled an act (ambiguous shove) as more violent when it was performed by a black than when the same act was perpetrated by a white. That is, the concept of violence was more accessible when viewing a black than when viewing a white committing the same act. Causal attributions were also found to be divergent. Situation attributions were preferred when the harm doer was white, and person (dispositional) attributions were preferred in black-protagonist conditions. The results are discussed in terms of perceptual threshold, stereotypy, and attributional biases.

Please find document here.


Eberhardt, JL, PA Goff , VJ Purdie, and PG Davies, ‘Seeing Black: Race, crime, and visual processing’ (2004) 87 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 876.


Abstract: Using police officers and undergraduates as participants, the authors investigated the influence of stereotypic associations on visual processing in 5 studies. Study 1 demonstrates that Black faces influence participants’ ability to spontaneously detect degraded images of crime-relevant objects. Conversely, Studies 2–4 demonstrate that activating abstract concepts (i.e., crime and basketball) induces attentional biases toward Black male faces. Moreover, these processing biases may be related to the degree to which a social group member is physically representative of the social group (Studies 4–5). These studies, taken together, suggest that some associations between social groups and concepts are bidirectional and operate as visual tuning devices—producing shifts in perception and attention of a sort likely to influence decision making and behavior.

Please find document here.


Equality and Human Rights Commission, Stop and Think: A Critical Review of the Use of Stop and Search Powers in England and Wales (Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2010).


Foreword: In seeking to protect the rights of the majority, the police at times infringe certain individual rights, such as the right to privacy or to freedom of movement and association. However, they are only permitted to do so if the infringement is rational, proportionate and lawful. Yet the evidence shows that, on the contrary, some police forces are using their powers disproportionately suggesting they are stopping and searching individuals in a way that is discriminatory, inefficient, and a waste of public money. This is despite the evidence from both Staffordshire and Cleveland which proves that a reduction in the use of stop and search can go hand in hand with a reduction in the overall levels of crime. Staffordshire and Cleveland show that policing which respects human rights is more effective and actually makes us safer.

The evidence in ‘Stop and think’ suggests that some forces are exercising their powers not on the basis of intelligence or reasonable suspicion but on stereotypical assumptions, which is not helping to make society safer. Black people are at least six times as likely to be stopped as white people; Asian people, around twice as likely.

Such an approach to policing erodes trust and makes co-operation harder, not just between police forces and the groups who are singled out, but also among the wider public, who are ill at ease with the idea of the state intruding unnecessarily into individuals’ private lives and their freedom to go about their business.

This is why the Equality and Human Rights Commission wants to see an end to the disproportionate use of stop and search. We hope to work with the police to make progress through advice, guidance, encouragement, and, where necessary, enforcement. Respecting human rights assists good policing and effective crime control and creates a safer society for us all.

Please find document here.


Equality and Human Rights Commission, Stop and Think Again: Towards Race Equality in Police PACE Stop and Search (Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2013).


Executive Summary: In March 2010 the Equality and Human Rights Commission published Stop and think which showed that the police in England and Wales conducted about a million stops and searches of members of the public every year, the great majority under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) and similar laws requiring officers to have ‘reasonable grounds for suspicion’. The power has always been controversial, and when Stop and think was published, Asian people were stopped and searched about twice as often as white people, and black people about six times as often. Stop and think also identified geographical differences; for example, little race disproportionality in much of the north of England, and relatively high levels in some southern forces. There were also wide ranges year on year between some neighbouring similar forces, and also between comparable London boroughs. The report concluded that unless forces could convincingly evidence that their race inequalities were justified their practice would be unlawful and discriminatory.

Following the report the Commission applied criteria, including extent of disproportionality and trends, to identify five forces for further inquiries. It found that their explanations were not firmly substantiated by evidence, nor could they define how much of their force’s disproportionality might stem from these factors.

Overall the Commission concluded that where firm action had been taken to reduce race disproportionality, and/or overall usage of the power, it had succeeded, without prejudice to falling crime levels. Key steps taken to reduce disproportionality appeared to be: targets for reduction, and for reducing negative drug searches; training in ‘reasonable grounds’ for, and proportionate use of, the power; steps to ensure intelligence-led practice rather than practice based on ‘hunches’ or generalisations about groups; micro-monitoring to identify local or individual racially skewed patterns and challenging them; and senior level commitment and leadership.

Please find article here.


Fiske, Susan, ‘Look Twice’ (2008) 5 Greater Good, 14.


Excerpt: Susan T. Fiske has some bad news: Prejudice might be hardwired in our brains. But the good news is that we can still learn to override our prejudices and embrace difference.


Fridell, Lorie, ‘Are We Racial Profilers?’ (2009) The Daily Beast.


Summary: In the wake of Skip Gates’ arrest, racial profiling is back in the news. But is racially biased policing always the result of racism? Lorie Fridell on why the equation isn’t so simple—and how police departments can erase unconscious bias.

Please find article here.


Fridell, Lorie A. ‘Racially Biased Policing: ‘The Law Enforcement Response to the Implicit Black-Crime Association’ in eds Michael Lynch, E. Britt Patterson and Kristina K. Childs Racial Divide: Race, Ethnicity and Criminal Justice (Criminal Justice Press, 2008) 39.


Excerpt: While some of the bias in policing is caused by intentional discrimination against people of color, there is a considerably body of research that points to another mechanism producing biased behavior. Social psychological research has shown that “implicit” or “unconscious” racial bias can impact what people perceive and do, even in subjects who consciously hold nonprejudiced attitudes. This chapter summarizes the research conducted on police officers and non-police subjects to gauge their implicit association between Blacks and crime, and it then discusses the law enforcement interventions implied by the findings. Agencies need to hire a diverse workforce composed of people who can police in a race-neutral fashion, use training to promote employees’ controlled responses to override automatic associations, facilitate “unlearning” of the Black person/ crime association in firearms simulations, set forth policy outlining the appropriate use of race/ ethnicity for making law enforcement decisions, train first line supervisors so they can detect and respond effectively to biased behavior on the part of their supervisees, and implement a style of policing that promotes positive interactions between police and their diverse constituencies.

Please find document here.


Fridell, Lorie, Promoting Fair and Impartial Policing: Research and Intervention.


This presentation addresses:

  • “Rethinking Biased Policing”:Use the social psychological research on implicit bias to reframe the issue of based policing (BP)
  • Interventions: Discuss the implications of the science for interventions to promote fair and impartial policing

Please find the presentation here.


Fridell, Lorie, ‘Reducing Biased Policing Through Training’ Community Policing Dispatch.


Excerpt: Biased policing and the perceptions of it threaten the relationship between police agencies and the diverse communities that they serve. The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (the COPS Office) has supported the development of resources to help law enforcement agencies to promote fair and impartial policing. As a continuation of these efforts, the COPS Office has funded the University of South Florida (USF) and Circle Solutions, Inc. (Circle) to develop two model curricula. The project ”Racially Biased Policing Training,” is being led by Dr. Lorie Fridell of USF and Anna Laszlo, Circle’s Director of Research, Evaluation and Training and Technical Assistance Services.

Please find document here.


Fridell, Lorie et al, Racially Biased Policing: A Principled Response (Police Executive Research Forum, 2001).


Excerpt: The vast majority of law enforcement officers—of all ranks, nationwide—are dedicated men and women committed to serving all citizens with fairness and dignity. The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) shares their intolerance for racially biased policing, and hopes Racially Biased Policing: A Principled Response will enhance citizen and police efforts to detect and eradicate it. Addressing racially biased policing, and the perceptions of its practice, involve complex issues and challenges. PERF members and their colleagues need to effectively allocate their limited agency resources to address the problem. PERF, with funding and guidance from the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, has prepared this report to assist agencies in meeting this challenge. This report is meant to provide the first step in assisting progressive police professionals—in partnership with citizens—to seriously consider the issues and develop approaches tailored to their community’s unique needs. It guides law enforcement professionals in their response to racially biased policing and, equally important, to the perceptions of its practice, to strengthen citizen confidence in the police and improve services to all our communities.

Please find document here.


Gove, Tracey G, ‘Implicit Bias and Law Enforcement’ (2011) The Police Chief 44.


Excerpt: Racial profiling has been an obvious point of contention between law enforcement and minority group members. Over the past decade, the term “bias-based policing” has been coined, and the subject has been the topic of much research and debate. It often paints the picture of ill-intentioned officers deliberately acting upon preconceived stereotypes and prejudices. What if, perhaps, there was another answer?

In the spring of 2010, professor Jerry Kang from the UCLA School of Law presented to Connecticut judges, prosecutors, public defenders, and police administrators on the topic of implicit, or hidden, bias. His talk shed light on what has become an increasingly popular subject in social science circles. In brief, researchers contend that implicit biases are predilections held by all that operate largely outside of one’s awareness. Although hidden, these biases are both pervasive and powerful.’ Much research on the topic has focused on racial bias and has netted some intriguing results.

Please find document here.


Gumbhir, Vikas K, But is it Racial Profiling? Policing, Pretext Stops and the Color of Suspicion (LFB Scholarly Publishing, 2007).


Abstract: Gumbhir offers conceptual, theoretical, and empirical innovations to help unravel and illuminate the forces that produce racial disparities in law enforcement. Gumbhir provides a theoretical framework for analyzing racial differences in police contacts, as well as a conceptualization of racial profiling that emphasizes police procedures related to the War on Drugs specifically pretext stop practices. Drawing on a grounded statistical analysis of vehicle stop data from a Pacific Northwest community, Gumbhir exposes racial disparities in terms of stops, searches, enforcement actions (citations and arrests), and other variables of interest. By studying patterns in the results, Gumbhir concludes that the police disproportionately apply pretext stop tactics to minority drivers.


Institute on Race and Justice, Northeastern University, ‘Promoting Cooperative Strategies to Reduce Racial Profiling’ (COPS Evaluation Brief No 1, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, 2008).


Excerpt: During the past 2 decades, public agencies—including law enforcement—have become increasingly concerned about ensuring organizational integrity and accountability. During this same period, concerns about racial profiling or bias-based policing threatened to undermine the integrity of law  enforcement nationally. Although there have long been allegations of police targeting people of color, aggressive crime-control strategies used by police in an effort to reduce crime during the last 2 decades have heightened perceptions that police may use pedestrian or traffic stops as a pretext for conducting disproportionate numbers of investigations of Black or Hispanic individuals. As a result of such perceptions, addressing racial profiling has become vital to law enforcement’s efforts to ensure and promote integrity. This publication identifies a number of promising strategies supported by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (the COPS Office) program titled “Promote Cooperative Strategies to Reduce Racial Profiling” (PCSRRP) that law enforcement can use to identify, address, and prevent concerns about racial profiling in their agencies.

Please find document here.


Lane, Kristin, Jerry Kang and Mahzarin Banaji, ‘Implicit Social Cognition and Law’ (2007) 3 Annual Review of Law and Social Science 427.


Experimental psychology has provided substantial evidence that the human mind can operate in automatic, uncontrollable fashion as well as without conscious awareness of its workings and the sources of influence on it.With methods available to measure implicit or less conscious aspects of social cognition, especially group-specific attitudes and stereotypes, several aspects of the nature of implicit social cognition are now regarded as well established. Such results primarily include the pervasive and robust implicit favoritism for one’s own groups and socially dominant groups, the dissociation between implicit and explicit social cognition, the ability of both to predict behavior, the greater impact of the former on certain discriminatory behaviors, and the sensitivity of seemingly implicit thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to change in response to situational features and experience. Legal scholarship and judicial opinions are beginning to consider how the law can and should adapt to such findings, in particular how they call into question existing assumptions regarding the notion of intent, and their relevance for antidiscrimination law.

Please find document here.


Nier, Jason A, Samuel L Gaertner, Charles L Nier and John F Dovidio, ‘Can Racial Profiling be Avoided under Arizona Immigration Law? Lessons Learned from Subtle-Bias Research and Anti-Discrimination Law’ (2011) Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 1.


Abstract: Arizona Senate Bill 1070 requires law-enforcement officers to verify the citizenship of individuals they stop when they have a “reasonable suspicion” that someone may be unlawfully present in the United States. Critics of the law fear it will encourage racial profiling. Defenders of the law point out that the statute explicitly forbids most forms of racial profiling. By drawing on the lessons learned in the domain of antidiscrimination law, we discuss how social psychological research can inform this debate and illuminate challenges associated with fair enforcement of the statute. We conclude that the Arizona law, paired with a lack of comprehensive training and ineffective testing procedures for detecting discrimination, will likely result in many Latinos being illegally targeted on the basis of their race. While certain actions, such as effective training and oversight, may help mitigate discrimination, these safeguards are not likely to completely eliminate biased outcomes.


Open Society Justice Initiative, Addressing Ethnic Profiling by Police: A Report on the Strategies for Effective Police Stop and Search Project (Open Society Justice Initiative, 2009).


Executive Summary: The term “ethnic profiling” describes the use by law enforcement officers of race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin rather than individual behavior as the basis for making decisions about who has been or may be involved in criminal activity. Ethnic profiling appears most frequently in police officers’ decisions about who to stop and ask for identity papers (ID), question, search, and sometimes arrest. Although ethnic profiling is widespread,1 the practice has not been sufficiently studied. Ethnic profiling constitutes discrimination and thus breaches fundamental human rights norms, but it has not been expressly outlawed by any European government. Profiling is also counterproductive. It misdirects law enforcement resources and alienates some of the very people whose cooperation is necessary for effective crime detection.

Ethnic profiling may result from the intentional racism of individual police officers, but is frequently the cumulative result of unconscious and unchecked ethnic stereotypes. It can also reflect institutional factors, such as police deployment patterns that do not reflect overt racial animus, but nonetheless have disparate impacts on minorities. Stop and search powers are a basic tool of policing and the primary point of contact with police for most people; yet their impact and effectiveness are rarely examined. Over 18 months, starting in January 2007, the Open Society Justice Initiative worked with police forces and civil society organizations in Bulgaria, Hungary, and Spain to monitor the use of police stops in a project supported by the European Commission’s AGIS Programme titled “Strategies for Effective Police Stop and Search project,” or STEPSS. The participating organizations and individuals not only had the foresight to recognize that they might have a problem with ethnic profiling, but were also willing to tackle the issue directly and share their experiences.

STEPSS shows that, while it is not easy, it is possible, even in a short period of time, to identify and begin to address patterns of disproportionality—and that doing so does not jeopardize safety. Indeed it enhances the efficiency and effectiveness with which officers use stop and search powers. The challenge ahead is to build upon and deepen the use of stop data to strengthen community-police consultation and institutionalize results-based management of the use of stops, including examining disproportionality, effectiveness, and the quality of encounters.

Please find document here.


Peruche, B Michelle, and E Ashby Plant, ‘The correlates of law enforcement officers’ automatic and controlled race-based responses to criminal suspects’,(2006)28 Basic and Applied Social Psychology 193.


Abstract: The current work explored law enforcement officers’ racial bias in decisions to shoot criminal suspects as well as their self-reported beliefs about Black versus White suspects. In addition, this work examined what factors contribute to officers’ racial biases and the likelihood of having these biases eliminated. Examination of the officers’ explicit attitudes toward Black people and their beliefs about the criminality and difficulty of Black suspects revealed strong relationships with the quality of their contact with Black people on the job and in their personal lives. In addition, officers with negative compared to more positive beliefs about the criminality of Black people were more likely to tend toward shooting unarmed Black suspects on a shooting simulation. However, officers with positive contact with Black people in their personal lives were particularly able to eliminate these biases with training on the simulation. The findings are discussed in terms of their implications for the training of law enforcement personnel.

Please find document here.


Plant, E and B Peruche, ‘The Consequences of Race for Police Officers’ Responses to Criminal Suspects’ (2005) 16 Psychological Science 180.


Abstract: The current work examined police officers’ decisions to shoot Black and White criminal suspects in a computer simulation. Responses to the simulation revealed that upon initial exposure to the program, the officers were more likely to mistakenly shoot unarmed Black compared with unarmed White suspects. However, after extensive training with the program, in which the race of the suspect was unrelated to the presence of a weapon, the officers were able to eliminate this bias. These findings are discussed in terms of their implications for the elimination of racial biases and the training of police officers.

Please find document here.


Sadler, Melody S, Joshua Correll, Bernadette Park and Charles M Judd, ‘The World is not Black and White: Racial Bias in the Decision not to Shoot in a Multiethnic context’ (2012) 68 Journal of Social Issues 286.


Abstract: We examined implicit race biases in the decision to shoot potentially hostile targets in a multiethnic context. Results of two studies showed that college-aged participants and police officers showed anti-Black racial bias in their response times: they were quicker to correctly shoot armed Black targets and to indicate “don’t shoot” for unarmed Latino, Asian, and White targets. In addition, police officers showed racial biases in response times toward Latinos versus Asians or Whites, and surprisingly, toward Whites versus Asians. Results also showed that the accuracy of decisions to shoot was higher for Black and Latino targets than for White and Asian targets. Finally, the degree of bias shown by police officers toward Blacks was related to contact, attitudes, and stereotypes. Overestimation of community violent crime correlated with greater bias toward Latinos but less toward Whites. Implications for police training to ameliorate biases are discussed.

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Sagar, H A, and J W Schofield ‘Racial and behavioral cues in Black and White children’s perceptions of ambiguously aggressive acts’ (1980) 39 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 590.


Abstract: To explore the way in which the interpretation of ambiguous social behavior can be influenced by racial stereotypes and cultural differences, 40 black and 40 white 6th-grade males were shown a variety of ambiguously aggressive behaviors performed by black and white stimulus figures. As predicted, both black and white preadolescents rated these behaviors as more mean and threatening when the perpetrator was black than when he was white. In contrast, ratings of personal characteristics were in general determined by individual behavior rather than by group stereotypes, although blacks, whether they were the perpetrator or the recipient of the behaviors, were rated as stronger than their white counterparts. Cultural differences between subject groups were apparent in the greater tendency of the white children to read threat into ambiguously aggressive behaviors involving no physical contact and to assume that the perpetrators of such behaviors were stronger than the recipients.

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Staats, Cheryl, Implicit Bias Review 2013 –State of the Science (Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, 2013).


Excerpt: Although not yet a widely-known concept outside of the social science community,  knowledge of implicit bias is gradually infiltrating the public domain. Attention from the media and other sources devoted to how implicit biases may have influenced voters’ decisions in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections is permeating public consciousness (see, e.g., Greenwald, Smith, Sriram, Bar-Anan, & Nosek, 2009; McElroy, 2012; NPR, 2012; Payne, et al., 2010). The term was also emphasized in an April 2012 decision by an Iowa district court judge, in a class-action suit brought forth by African Americans who claimed that implicit racial biases influenced employment and promotion decisions for state jobs (“Iowa: Ruling for State in ‘Implicit Bias’ Suit,” 2012). As the body of literature on implicit bias expands and the scholarship gains traction outside of academic circles, one can reasonably anticipate that implicit bias will increasingly enter public discourse.

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Unkelbach, C., Forgas, J.P., & Denson, T.F. ‘The Turban Effect: The influence of Muslim headgear and induced affect on aggressive responses in the shooter bias paradigm’ (2008) 44 Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 1409.


Abstract: Does Islamic appearance increase aggressive tendencies, and what role does affect play in such responses? In a computer game, participants made rapid decisions to shoot at armed people, some of whom wore Islamic head dress. We predicted and found a significant bias for participants to shoot more at Muslim targets. We also predicted and found that positive mood selectively increased aggressive tendencies towards Muslims, consistent with affect-cognition theories that predict a more top-down, stereotypical processing style in positive mood. In contrast, induced anger increased the propensity to shoot at all targets. The relevance of these results for our understanding of real-life negative reactions towards Muslims is discussed, and the influence of affective states on rapid aggressive responses is considered.

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Victoria University, 'Learning to Engage: A review of Victoria Police Cross-Cultural Training Practices' (2013)

Executive Summary: Victoria University’s Centre for Cultural Diversity and Wellbeing undertook a Review of Victoria Police Cross-Cultural Training Practices in response to a tender request from Victoria Police issued in June 2013. The tender called for a review to develop analysis, benchmarking, findings and recommendations for Victoria Police to consider as it develops the cross-cultural education and training elements of its overall approach to effective policing for communities. The Review has produced the final Report summarised here, Learning to Engage: A Review of Victoria Police Cross-Cultural Training Practices. The following summary sets out the key areas covered by the Report, identifies key findings arising, and provides a Summary of Recommendations arising from the Review process.

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