I think it is desirable for a Police and Crime Commissioner, and indeed anyone holding public office, to make a clear that they want to see everyone treated equally by the state irrespective of factors such as race or age when those factors are irrelevant.
Too often I think the police are reluctant to act robustly against groups such as for example mothers, travellers, or other groups which they describe as “sensitive”. I think that the police treating groups of people differently based on irrelevant factors in this way is counter-productive and can increase tension and be divisive.
Often well meaning efforts to create equality are counter-productive or silly, for example calls for stops and searches to be carried out proportionately to the fraction of the total population made up by various groups.
What is important is the grounds for a stop and search are independent of racial or age based bias; though if people from particular group meet those grounds more often than others then disproportionate stop and search of such groups is appropriate. Criminality is not evenly distributed across our population, and so therefore neither should police action be. I don’t want to see the police asked to make token stop-searches of grannies (which if groundless would be illegal) to balance their stop-searches of young men on legitimate grounds.
- Review of All Stops Proportionality – September 2011
- Oath for Police and Crime Commissioners – Home Office website