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Commissioner's conference explores better BME policing experiences

Better and fairer policing experiences among members of Nottinghamshire’s black and minority ethnic communities are being followed by further improvements, Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said today.

Speaking after his latest conference with BME residents, community leaders and members of Nottinghamshire Police, he commented: “Changes made since my election two years ago, together with more to come, are considerable strides forward – but there is still more to do.”

His ‘Exploring and Improving BME Policing Experiences’ conference was organised to review and invite questions on current progress following recommendations arising from independent research that he commissioned last year.

Mr Tipping commissioned the project, led by Professor Cecile Wright from the University of Nottingham, with a view to improving victim satisfaction, increasing BME representation within the force, parity in regard to stop searches and effective engagement with the BME community.

The conference at the Marcus Garvey Centre in Nottingham reported on a number of major improvements made as a result of the study that included feedback from 500 BME residents. Achievements include greater recruitment of BME candidates into the police force and support for existing BME officers seeking to achieve promotion.

An update on stop and search use and the great deal of work done in its process, recording and management was presented to the conference. As a result of its work, Nottinghamshire Police has been recognised nationally for good practice and has been asked to help in developing the ‘Best Use of Stop and Search’ scheme.

The force is one of only two in the UK to be chosen to pilot the Police.uk stop and search mapping tool which will allow the public to examine the use of stop and search against incidents of crime in their area. Representatives from Nottinghamshire now also attend the Police and Public Encounters Board, which has a national membership and influences and monitors national stop and search procedure and practice. This group includes the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Sajid Mohammed Co-Chair of the PCC BME Steering Group, said: “I’m proud to live and work in a diverse and welcoming city like Nottingham. Our diversity is something to be celebrated and demands that we act together to make it safe and prosperous for everyone.  Mr Tipping’s courageous and committed leadership in tackling longstanding issues in BME Policing experiences has opened a new chapter for the BME community and the Police. By acting together we have made ground breaking momentum particularly in representation and stop and search. But there is a long way to go and many challenges before us, with the spectre of Hate Crime looming over us. By working together in partnership we can overcome any obstacles, for a better future for all of Nottingham’s communities.”

Mr Tipping said that since he came into post, the likelihood of a Black or Afro-Caribbean young man being stopped and searched had fallen from 16 times that of a white youngster of the same age to two to one.

He went on: “That’s a very significant drop but we aren’t there yet. We’re going to introduce mobile video cameras on officers’ uniforms as well as mobile tracking in the future so that when they stop and search people we’ve got a record of it. We’ll also know if officers are treating people with respect.”

In addition, in the 2014 police recruitment process, 25% of successful applicants were from BME communities following the force’s targeted BME recruitment programme which has since been highlighted as innovative practice by the College of Policing. A development scheme has also stepped up the number of existing BME police officers applying for ‘fast track’ promotion development. Nearly 40% of applicants identified and supported by the force to apply for the national College of Policing’s ‘Releasing Potential‘ 2014/15 programme are BME officers.

Achievements have also been made in staff engagement by identifying barriers to recruitment and progression through holding independent workshops for all BME officers and staff. The resulting ‘BME Voices’ report is now incorporated into the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion action plan.

An on-going community engagement programme carried out by the force has included officers’ presence and participation at events such as the lively Caribbean Carnival, Nottingham MELA event and the Riverside festival. Two highlights were the very successful engagement events during Ramadan and also a day-long visit to Police HQ by a group of more than 30 young BME people as part of the ‘Tap the Gap’ Nottingham City Council work experience project. “Events like these help improve relationships all round, and at the same time give youngsters an insight into police work as a career and making a valuable difference in their communities,”  the Commissioner said.

Other changes introduced to help strengthen relations with the BME community include a new programme of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training. This has been developed by the regional training unit and is being rolled out across the force. The course includes involvement from community members of Nottinghamshire’s diverse communities.

END

Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair 01283 821012 / 07702 541401

Posted on Friday 28th November 2014
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