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PCC brings together agencies to take forward crucial work tackling racial disproportionality

PCC Mark Shelford brought together senior leaders from partner agencies at an event to take forward the recommendations from our Identifying Disproportionality in the Avon and Somerset Criminal Justice System Report.

The report, which you can read here, was authored by independent chair Desmond Brown and sets out 83 recommendations for the agencies related to five areas including Stop & Search, Youth Justice, Prisons and HR recruitment, retention and progression.

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner has direct responsibility for delivery of three of those recommendations.

The event took place on Friday at the M-Shed with attendance from more than 50 personnel from across the police service, youth offending teams, prisons, probation and local authorities.

Abimbola Johnson, Defence Barrister and chair of the national Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Board (ISOB) for the Police Race Action Plan (PRAP) gave a recorded keynote speech on the importance of taking a whole system approach to tackling racial disproportionality.

Leaders from each organisation updated on the work that has been undertaken since the report was launched on March 29th.  Discussions also took place on the structure of the multi-agency steering committee and working groups that will deliver positive change that begins to tackle the over-representation of people from Black, Asian, mixed and minoritised ethnicities in the Criminal Justice System.

The Tackling Disproportionality steering committee will be led by Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Police Sarah Crew. You can read more about the Chief Constable’s thoughts from the event on here on the Avon and Somerset Police website.

PCC Mark Shelford said: “It was a positive start to our joint endeavour to tackle disproportionality in our organisations and the way we operate moving forward.

“This is Black History Month and the theme this year is Time For Change. We now need to positively build on this moment with energy, conviction, and purpose to ensure change happens, not only evidenced through data which says that racial disproportionality is falling but that positive change is felt by the communities affected by racial inequality in the way they are treated, and their outcomes, when they come into contact with the criminal justice system.

“The event enabled us to have conversations around the vision and ambition for the work and to talk openly about the challenges and barriers that are present in the change landscape we are operating within.

“This work will inevitably challenge current ways of working and will demand we co-create future outcomes and measures of success with those most impacted by disproportionality in the system today. I was delighted to hear about the personal and organisational commitments captured that will hold us in good stead to do this moving forward.”