The Police and Crime Commissioner elections which will be held on Thursday 15th November 2012 will radically change the way local policing works by introducing a new role. The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) will have the authority to hold the Chief Constable of the local police force to account. S/he will also publish a crime strategy and aim to cut crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service within their force area.
There have been a number of policing decisions and practices which have stoked controversy and heightened concerns among British Muslims in recent years. If one of the main aims of the PCC role is to build confidence and trust in local policing, and to ensure that community needs are met as effectively as possible, recognising some of the mistakes of the past, and working to avoid them in the future will be a key barometer of success of any PCC.
Among incidents which have occurred in recent months and years are the following:
From the sometimes disproportionate methods practised by Counter Terrorism Units, to intimidatory policing at ports and airports, and from stop and search to police brutality – these are just some of the reasons why actively participating in the PCC elections is necessary. This is your opportunity to influence the way your local community and force area is policed; with due regard for the law and community concerns. It is vital that you make the most of the opportunity the PCC elections present in allowing you to question and challenge PCC candidates on their strategy and plans to deliver effective and efficient police services.
Some questions and actions to help you get started:
- Who are the candidates standing for the PCC post in your local force?
- Have s/he published a manifesto on their vision and strategy? Does the manifesto reflect local needs?
- What are the key issues that you would like the PCC to take into account in regards to the local Muslim community? How will s/he tackle Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate crime?
- What crime areas should be a priority in your local area? (You can use the crime maps to help you – http://www.police.uk)
- How will the PCC engage with you and your community to ensure your concerns and views are taken on board?
- What level of consultation would be appropriate?
- How would feedback on progress be given on any given matter, and what forums for consultation will be established to maintain continuous community engagement?
These are just some of the questions that need to be looked at and developed.