Council Leader Tim Oliver's statement on Black Lives Matter

The scenes in America recently have been extremely hard to watch. But watch, and listen, we must.

The callous murder of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in the US, was both shocking and disturbing.

It is abundantly clear that the anger and frustration expressed by the black community across the world is not just about this one incident. And, I’m afraid, it is not just about America.

We have made great strides in the equality agenda in this country, transformative progress has unquestionably been made over the last two decades. However it is important that we recognise racial bias in our country still exists. We still have some way to go.

We must listen to the experiences of black and other ethnic minority members of our communities. Without giving these communities a voice, without listening, we cannot pretend to know how the lives of BAME people are affected day in day out by racial prejudice, bias and discrimination.

We recognise that more must be done to break down the barriers facing the BAME community, tackle conscious and unconscious bias and empower those who may feel restricted or unheard. Please speak up, we will listen.

We are challenging ourselves to put equality of opportunity at the forefront of our policy and decision making. We will test this, we will listen to our minority communities and we will work together to ensure that Surrey is a place where everybody can flourish, and that not one single person is discriminated against.