Posted: Tuesday 23rd July 2013
Week commencing July 15 2013
There have been a number of noteworthy milestones since I took up my position as Commissioner but few as significant as the publication of the long-awaited report into perceptions of policing among the black and minority ethnic community. This project, led by Professor Cecile Wright from the University of Nottingham’s school of sociology and social policy, is the first external research I have commissioned since being elected and explores a subject very close to my heart and one that I am genuinely passionate about addressing.
This study gathered together a collection of policing experiences from within the BME community with the intention of identifying ways of improving the relationship between police and the diverse cultures that live in Nottingham. Researchers were keen to understand how various styles of policing are interpreted so that we can develop more effective ways of engaging with our communities in the future.
One of the most important facts to arise from the study is that one third of BME residents who have been a victim of crime have chosen not to report it to the police. We know that hate crime is commonly experienced by those who live in the BME community and it is clear that we need to do more to build trust in policing so that more people feel confident coming forward to report crime.
Nottinghamshire Police has made great strides in its community engagement work within BME communities, as identified in the report, and is genuinely listening to the public about how negative policing experiences are impacting on attitudes towards the Force. The Force already works with a range of Independent Advisory Groups (IAGs) representing the interests of minority groups for guidance on policy decisions but what has become clear in the report is further work is needed to promote inclusion and meet the expectations of those who live within the BME community.
A series of recommendations have been made including the creation of an action plan to tackle hate crime and a detailed review of the Force’s Stop and Search strategy to ascertain its effect on community relations. We will now work on putting these suggestions into action so that we can strengthen co-operation between the Force and our minority communities and deliver better enforcement.
Elsewhere this week, I caught up with old friends during a walkabout with police officers in Hucknall. The town has seen a 20% reduction in crime in the past 12 months which is testament to the hard work of local officers but also of the energy invested into partnership working here which has delegated responsibility for public protection across a number of interested organisations. But there’s always room for improvement and residents here are particularly keen to see a stronger focus on speeding and road safety in the future, which I have noted.
Finally, I’d like to end on yet more good news for the residents of Nottinghamshire. Official Home Office figures this week reveal crime in the county fell by 12% between March 2012 and April this year. The biggest drop was seen in incidents of fraud and forgery which saw a 38.3% drop.
While this is remarkable progress given the difficult economic conditions we found ourselves in, I’m reluctant to get too excited with the knowledge that this year promises to be even tougher. The target for 2013-14 is a further 10% reduction which is going to be extremely difficult to achieve bearing in mind the Force has delivered continual reductions since 2002 but I have no doubt that everything possible is being done to make Nottinghamshire safer, given the limited resources we have.