Select Committee on Home Affairs Written Evidence



  The MPA Stops and Searches Review Board (SSRB) formerly known as Stop and Search Scrutiny Implementation Panel (SSSIP) was established in October 2004 to monitor the progress of the recommendations. The Board is a member led committee and is chaired by John Roberts.

  The recommendations are around various themes (Supervision & Monitoring, Complaints & Feedback, Policy, Training and Raising Public Awareness).

  The Board has now completed two reviews of the themes and will be looking at "signing off" some of the recommendations from January 2007. These includes:

    —  Structures that are now in place and require no further work except for monitoring;

    —  Processes that have become obsolete due to change management within the MPS; and

    —  Those that are ongoing processes for eg training.

  The SSRB will cease its scrutiny role by April 2008; however MPA members will continue a review progress of the MPS stops and searches practice through the MPA Equal Opportunity and Diversity Board (EODB) and Full Authority.


  In April 2003, Hackney was the first borough to pilot the monitoring of stops and searches followed by Tower Hamlets in November 2003. The process included the engagement of community representatives and local stops and searches officers.

  Between October 2004 and September 2005 only eight local monitoring groups were in place.

  To assist community monitoring groups and stops and searches officers at local level, the MPA established a Stops and Searches Community Monitoring (CMN) Forum. The purpose of the Network Forum is to:

    —  Provide networking opportunities between Local Monitoring Groups.

    —  Provide leadership to Local Monitoring Groups working with police locally challenging their use of stop and search.

    —  Provide learning opportunities and capacity building for Local Monitoring Group members.

    —  Provide a community based "challenge panel" for the MPA Stop and Search Review Board.

  As of October 2006 28 boroughs now have a Local Monitoring Group in place.

  In September 2006, the CMN has been in place for a year and has met six times to date. The meetings are externally facilitated to ensure independence beyond the MPA, the community and the MPS and for everyone to be able to voice their opinion. Increasingly the community is now taking greater control of the agenda (ie chairing the meetings) and meetings are now thematic in nature.

  The CMN meetings have looked at:

    —  Local Monitoring Group practice—strengths and weaknesses.

    —  Impact of the bombings on stop and search and public confidence.

    —  MPS data on stop and search.

    —  Disproportionality.

    —  Complaints.

  The MPA has ring-fenced £25,000 for Local Monitoring Groups to support local initiatives. This is a one-off initiative for 2006 to 2007.


  The aims of the RHCF are to:

    —  improve the co-ordination between the key agencies responsible for dealing with victims of race hate crime;

    —  improve the effectiveness with which perpetrators of race hate crime are brought to justice;

    —  support the reduction and prevention of race hate crime;

    —  improve the confidence and satisfaction of victims in reporting crimes; and

    —  to promote consistent service across London.

  The RHCF has since 2004 held bimonthly meetings with boroughs to scrutinise progress on the hate crime agenda. Specifically this has focused on race and faith hate crimes. Boroughs have also increasingly provided information on homophobic hate crime. In 2007 the RHCF will complete the process of hearing presentations from all 32 London boroughs and will refocus on its strategic areas of work with the various forum partner agencies.

  The RHCF, through its presentations, has been asking boroughs to share what they are doing to address hate crime and racist bullying in their schools. The information provided so far is fairly general as there are issues for schools in accurately recording incidents of race/faith and homophobic bullying. The MPS current sanction detection target rate stands at 36%.

  The information we do have is that in terms of young people and crime. The statistical data from MPS as of September 2006 records the following:

    —  The number of young people accused age range 0-17 = 24,227.

    —  The number of young people as victims age range 0-17 = 47,934.

  Currently there is no information available to identify young people across the specific age category that applies to the Every Child Matters agenda, where the age range is 0-19. Information is to be requested from the MPS to ensure its categorisation complies with this are range in order to support its new Young People Strategy for 2007-09.

  The RHCF will continue to explore the impact of crime and the fear of crime on young people in its investigation of work being done by boroughs.

  From Young Minds, Crime and Youth Justice,

  Young people who commit offences and are in contact with the youth justice system are more likely to have experienced some kind of mental health difficulties. Their offending behaviour is often as damaging to themselves as it is to others around them. It is often a way of dealing with painful, fearful or angry feelings.

  The Youth Justice Board for England and Wales is responsible for the youth justice system, which includes Youth Offending Teams (YOTs); the youth courts; and the institutions in which young people are held in custody (the Secure Estate). The Youth Justice Board has a variety of schemes aimed at preventing offending by children and young people, such as Safer School Partnerships, parenting programmes and mentoring programmes.


  The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) Domestic Violence Board is set up to monitor, scrutinise and support the MPS in its performance and response to domestic violence. The Board aims to secure continuous improvement in the MPS' response and disseminate best practice and innovation across the 32 Borough Operational Command Units (BOCUs).

  At the last MPA Equal Opportunities and Diversity Board, the MPS stated that their overall current sanction detection rate for domestic violence is 35.6%, which compares favourably against the performance for the previous two years.

  Both the MPA and MPS are examining the issue of domestic violence homicides. In 2006-07, 11 people have been murdered; in 2005-06 of the 34 domestic violence homicides, six victims were male, 28 were female of which 20 victims were BME women. The ethnicity breakdown of the 20 women were:

    —  10 Black African.

    —  5 Asian.

    —  3 Chinese/Japanese.

    —  1 Arabic.

    —  1 South European.

  Currently, the MPA and MPS are trying to ascertain the age and ethnicity dimensions of both victims and perpetrators and what lessons can be learned to further assist the preventative and campaigning work undertaken by the MPS and its other key CJS and voluntary partners and stakeholders. Critically young people, whether directly or indirectly, may be victims of domestic violence—a key issue the Board is keen to address.


  In an MPS report, which was submitted to EODB in June 2006, youth crime remains a concern for boroughs, with youth victims accounting for 40% of total personal robbery.

  Engaging with young people is crucial towards gaining and maintaining the trust and confidence of young people. The MPS, together with its partners, such as Transport for London (TfL) and British Transport Police (BTP), have made significant in-roads and developed pro-active strategies to assist actual and potential young victims of crime. However, for the MPS there is the challenge of developing sustainable engagement with young people outside of crime-related operations and successful initiatives such as Operation Blunt (anti-knife crime). The MPS has also carried out notable groundbreaking work through Operation Trident (guns in the Black communities) and with the Trident Independent Advisory Group (IAG) developed high profile anti-gun campaigns.


  On 7 February 2006 Prime Minster Tony Blair and policing minister Hazel Blears announced that every neighbourhood in the capital will have its own dedicated police team by April 2007—2 years ahead of schedule.

  The programme remains on course for delivering the full rollout of the 630 Safer Neighbourhoods teams into every area of London by the end of December 2006. These teams will have a minimum staffing level of one sergeant, two police constables and three police community support officers (1,2,3 model).

  During April 2006 a further 345 Safer Neighbourhoods teams were launched to cover all the MPS area, (including the five additional Westminster teams and the Crystal Palace team).

  Recent public attitude surveys have shown an increase in both public satisfaction and confidence in the police service within the Safer Neighbourhoods areas. Anecdotal information from Key Individual Network (KIN) questionnaires (The KIN is a tool that is used for gathering local information and intelligence) also suggests an increase in public satisfaction and confidence.

  The Safer Neighbourhood Programme has progressed in that; as of 28 October 2006, (according to DAC A. Hitchcock), 493 SN Panels have been established of which 210 are still chaired by the SN Team. As a criteria of funding for 2006-07 Community Engagement Groups have been required to interact with the SN Panels. In linking the community engagement processes not only with the Safer Neighbourhood level but also into the local partnership process, all community engagement groups report that they are represented somewhere within the local Crime & Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) structure. The vast majority have at least one seat on the CDRP Board as well as on other groups within the CDRP structure. This means that the MPA's role in representing and ensuring that the voice of all Londoners have access to and is heard through strengthened partnership working at the local level.


  The MPA are currently working on a programme of community engagement to counter terrorism. London's communities have a key part to play in countering terrorism, at policy and strategic levels, whilst not the primary provider of community-police engagement, the MPA can and does add significant value to the work in this arena undertaken by the MPS. Part of the programme consists of—the MPA is now committed to delivering in 2006 the following activities with regard to terrorism and counter-terrorism:

    (1)  A programme of six public hearings with different London communities.

    (2)  A programme of six focus groups with students in London universities and colleges.

    (3)  A programme of thirty-two local consultations—one in every London Borough.

  Young Black and Asian men from across London have participated in this unique piece of work, with excellent feedback from those who have contributed. The research stage of the programme is near conclusion and a full report consisting of a series of recommendations from Londoners on how to counter terrorism will be published in February 2007. This is an innovative and detailed piece of work, recognising the potential Londoners themselves have to contribute to the safety and security of the capital.


  An, as yet, unpublished piece of research sought to understand why there was a difference between the proportion of PCSO and police officer recruits who were women, ethnic minorities and from a wider range of ages.

  Key findings from the study (including Human Resources (HR) data from April 2004 to March 2006, interviews with PCSOs and stakeholders and a survey of the Safer London Panel) highlighted:

    —  Proportionately more PCSO than police officer recruits in the younger and slightly older age categories, and proportionately more who were from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities;

    —  Greater variation in age and ethnicity of applicants than recruits for both the PCSO and police officer role;

    —  Minimal difference between the proportion of BME police officer and PCSO applicants (50.2% vs 55.1%);

    —  Proportionately fewer BME police officer recruits than PCSO recruits (20.3% vs 36.5%);

    —  Attractions to the PCSO role included: the nature of the role itself (eg less confrontational, an opportunity to work with the community), future opportunities the role may present (particularly using the role as a "stepping-stone" to becoming a police officer) and terms and conditions of the role (eg salary, flexible hours);

    —  The most common reason overall why PCSOs left the role was to become a police officer—however, the most common reason why Black African/British/Caribbean, Indian and Pakistani PCSOs left the role was voluntary resignation;

    —  More than half of PCSOs interviewed intended to apply to be a police officer after being in the PCSO role for a while; and

    —  Three overarching reasons for more diversity amongst PCSO compared to police officer recruits: the community focused nature of the role; the opportunity the role offers to increase understanding of working for the MPS; and the alternative option that the role provides for unsuccessful police officer applicants.

  The study suggested that developments to the PCSO role (training, powers etc) might possibly highlight opportunities to retain current PCSOs and further diversify the profile of police officer recruits. These included:

    —  Addressing the career structure within the PCSO role—although not necessarily through creation of a rank structure;

    —  Providing more opportunities for PCSOs to utilise their skills (eg language, practical qualifications, cultural understanding);

    —  Providing more opportunities for PCSOs to specialise in certain areas;

    —  Positively promoting and portraying the police officer role (interviews with PCSOs highlighted how it was often the police officer role—rather than the MPS as a whole—that was viewed in negative terms);

    —  Clearly communicating MPS policies around issues such as opportunities for non-residential police officer training and how the MPS accommodates cultural practices such as prayer and fasting; and

    —  Providing more assistance to PCSOs who want to go on to become police officers—such as shadowing or mentoring opportunities.

  While addressing these issues might offer benefits for both the individual and the organisation, the study also highlighted that effective policing of diverse communities goes further than simply recruiting a diverse workforce. Ensuring that diversity is embedded beyond recruitment together with improving opportunities to retain PCSOs and further diversify the profile of police officer recruits will continue to develop a police service that truly reflects London.

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