The biggest power a PCC has is the oversight and scrutiny of police decision making and that’s where I think I can make the biggest impact on how the police operate. As PCC I want to introduce a programme of scrutiny that ensures transparency in police decision making, including recruiting independent community members to sit on a police scrutiny panels and ensure the police are using resources responsibly. It is vital that the black community is a core part of this work and, if I’m elected, I would like you to be involved.
Stop and Search, is like any other police power, only useful if used in a proportionate and intelligence led way and with the support of communities. I believe there are still lessons to be taken from the Equalities and Human Rights Commission 2010 report ‘Stop and think’ and I will bring these into my work with the police, as PCC.
Tackling crime takes a whole system approach.
We need training for all police staff, not just frontline officers, on unconscious bias and to ensure that black people and communities are not targeted, but are instead served. We need to start recognising that black people are more likely to be victims of crime than the perpetrators.
In addition to increasing the level of training and scrutiny on the use of Stop and Search and involving black communities in that process, I also think it’s vital that the police reflect the community they are there to serve. Merseyside’s population is 5.5% black but only 3.5% of our officers are black.
Any new police officer recruitment is an opportunity to recruit more black officers and increase the diversity of the police service In the current round of recruitment, only 1.8% of the new recruits are black. This isn’t good enough. I’ll be pushing the police to improve on those numbers, to be proactive and to really engage with black communities to recruit officers. I will publish an annual audit to see how police diversity has improved.