Statement from the Joint Chairs of the APCC Race Disparity Working Group
In May, David Munro and Hardyal Dhindsa, the PCCs for Surrey and Derbyshire respectively, expressed on the behalf of all PCCs how appalled and saddened we were by the death of George Floyd at the hands of US police officers. We recognised how this horrific killing and the resulting protests shone a renewed spotlight on issues of racism and disproportionality in policing and criminal justice.
We were determined to act, so here at the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) we established our Race Disparity Working Group, bringing key APCC portfolios together to develop our response to issues and concerns in relation to race disparity and disproportionality within policing and the wider criminal justice system.
Black History Month 2020 seems like the right time to share what we’ve been doing. The Working Group has developed an action plan, based on previous reports relating to race disparity including the Lammy Review on the criminal justice system, and the Angiolini Review on deaths in custody.
The role of the PCCs is to be the voice of the people in policing and hold the police to account. PCCs also have a key role to play in wider criminal justice and community safety. They commission support services for victims of crime and champion the needs of victims at a local level.
In policing, PCCs have a critical role in ensuring the public can have confidence in their police force and that policing operates in an open and transparent way that commands the confidence of local communities it serves. We want to make meaningful, long lasting progress, and we have identified the following to be key priority areas for this:
- Improving leadership on the national and local level in the Criminal Justice System in tackling race disparity, and ensuring more diverse and culturally competent leadership teams across policing and police governance.
- Challenging and supporting the government and the CJS to continue improving the recording and publishing ethnicity data, whilst reviewing what PCCs can do locally to increase transparency.
- Ensuring we have a greater understanding of the needs of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) victims of crime, to ensure that all victims can have confidence in the police forces and wider CJS which serves them.
- The APCC providing clear information to PCCs and their teams on the steps they can take to tackle race disparity locally, including training and guidance.
- PCCs and their offices to ensure that their local communities are sufficiently involved in providing scrutiny over the use of police powers.
- APCC Workforce Leads to continue to work with PCCs and Chief Constables to embed the NPCC Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Strategy (DEI) within their local plans, to ensure that improving workforce diversity remains a priority throughout the duration of Operation Uplift and beyond.
Through driving forward on this work, we look forward to working with our communities and Chief Constables to ensure that the Peelian principle of ‘the police are the public and the public are the police’ is worked towards and achieved.
Paddy Tipping (PCC for Nottinghamshire) and Julia Mulligan (PFCC for North Yorkshire)