Shortly after taking office, the Commissioner commissioned a research project ‘Exploring and Improving BME Policing Experiences’, which resulted in a detailed report consisting of 30 recommendations in support of improving BME experience of policing through better engagement and being more responsive to their needs. The Commissioner has agreed to implement all of the recommendations. A copy of the report can be found here.
He has invited the Research Team to continue as a BME Steering Group and has also established an internal BME Working Group which he chairs. Progress and implementation is overseen by the Deputy Chief Constable.
The programme of work is reported to the BME Steering Group jointly chaired by Professor Cecile Wright and Sajid Mohammed on a monthly basis. The Working Group is currently focussing on three key areas: Stop and Search, Recruitment (Police officers and PCSOs) and Training.
The recommendations are intended to improve:
a) BME victim satisfaction
b) Increase BME representation within the Force
c) Improve BME proportionality with stop searches
d) Ensure effective BME community and IAG engagement
Engagement and Scrutiny
Policing in the UK is based on consent. Without the support of the public the police would not be effective. The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) believes policing will only improve legitimacy through greater transparency in decision making and through positive proactive engagement with BAME communities.
The Independent Office for Police Complaints (IOPC) and the Home Office have also made recommendations and encouraged policing to establish scrutiny panels in order to receive and respond to community feedback in relation to stop and search, use of force and discrimination complaints.
Over the last few years the PCC’s BME Steering group has made huge progress in building a positive relationship with policing and championing the recruitment and retention of BAME police officers alongside improvements in stop and search practice.
It is now felt that the PCC’s structures for engaging with the BAME community need to be refreshed. The report below sets out in brief the PCC’s proposals to establish a new framework for engaging with BAME communities and scrutinising all aspects of policing activity, including the quality of the police’s interaction with BAME public, particularly victims of crime.