First Police Race Inclusion Board Meeting

Living Magazines Police Race Inclusion Board March 2023

A new panel, made up of members of the Black community in Hertfordshire, sat for the first time earlier in March to scrutinise and give feedback on policing in the county.

Following an appeal to the public in Hertfordshire, 13 volunteers agreed to take part in the Race Inclusion Board – believed to be the first of its kind in the country – to bring their views to the table and help improve policing for everyone.

The meeting was held at Police Headquarters in Welwyn Garden City where, on this occasion, police use of stop and search was the subject of discussion.

Presentations were given on the laws and other considerations that underpin its use by officers. They also heard about how supervisors review all the stops, and the independent Stop and Search Scrutiny Panel works to check how they were conducted – even viewing body-worn camera footage.

The members then had the opportunity to discuss the issues with both senior and frontline police officers, including the impact it has on the community and relations with police.

The initiative is part of Hertfordshire Constabulary’s response to the National Police Race Action Plan – a strategy to address race disparities affecting Black people and change a legacy of distrust.

Supt Nev Hanks, the force’s strategic lead for Race, said: ‘I would like to thank the board members for their time. We have set our stall out to become an anti-racist organisation and a key part of that is having voices from the Black community heard on challenging issues like stop and search.

‘Understanding alternative perspectives on policing tactics is the only way we can improve the service we provide for the whole community. In the coming meetings we will also be looking at how we can better protect Black victims of crime, improve Black representation in our workforce and ensure we engage effectively with the Black community in Hertfordshire.’