OnThursday 15th November, the electorate in England and Wales will vote for the newly created position of Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) in 41 constabularies across England and Wales.
Each PCC will effectively take over the role currently performed by local Police Authorities, and will be responsible for ensuring efficient and effective policing as detailed in the policing plan and crime strategy formulated for each police force area. The PCCs will also be responsible for appointing and, if necessary, dismissing chief constables.
ENGAGE have developed a manifesto which we believe deals with the most urgent priorities in policing affecting British Muslims. We are working with grassroots communities and Muslim organisations to urge all PCC candidates to pledge their support for our key campaign issues:
- Recording Islamophobia – The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) identifies the number of anti-Semitic hate crimes as a subtotal within the faith or religion category. This level of detail is not currently captured in relation to other race and faith groups. It is paramount that all religions and faith communities be treated equally and that statistics are disaggregated to disclose the number of hate crimes affecting Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and other faiths too.
We are asking all PCC candidates to pledge to record Islamophobia as a separate category of hate crime, as is currently the case with anti-Semitism; and to commit adequate resources to local specialist services that deal with victims of faith based hate crimes
- Reforming Stop and Search – the disproportionate use of stop and search powers against minority communities has been a constant feature of reports and appraisals on police powers covered by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act and the Terrorism Act (2000) Section 44 (now Section 47a) and Schedule 7.
We are asking all PCC candidates to review their force’s use of stop and search and to tackle racist or discriminatory use of the powers by regularly reviewing local statistics; and working with equalities bodies, specialist agencies and community organisations to ensure policing is conducted in a non-discriminatory manner
- Tackling far right hate groups – Recent years have seen a growth in far right hostility and violence targeting British Muslims and Islamic institutions. Studies suggest that there is a strong propensity among members of far right organisations to consider and sympathise with violence as a means of addressing their anxieties over immigration, multiculturalism and the ‘Islamification of Britain’.
We are asking all PCC candidates to take action to deliver safe and robust service responses to harassment, intimidation and violence perpetrated by far right groups against Muslim communities in local areas; and to provide effective leadership and partnership with Muslim organisations to challenge threats of violence and risks to security of Muslims persons, property and institutions
- Developing partnerships with Muslim communities – Trust in policing in recent years has been diminished with cases of police brutality, stop and search and the ‘excessive enthusiasm’ with which counter-terrorism powers have been used. British Muslims have been particularly affected with research reinforcing the perception and treatment of Muslims as a ‘suspect community’.
We are asking all PCC candidates to consult with local Muslim groups and organisations by establishing regular forums for consultation on the setting of local policing priorities, and to ensure fair representation and inclusion of Muslim community concerns in the development of local crime strategies
To read the full document click here.