Community Engagement, Accountability & Scrutiny
Community Diversity and Police Engagement, Consultation and Accountability
There is a general recognition by public services, in the London, that community engagement and community cohesion are important elements, which needs to be built into planning and development of community services.
That is not a simple proposition. Today, London’s population is around 7.5 million and is one of the most ethnically diverse cities on earth; in it are spoken over 300 languages spoken and it has more than 50 non-indigenous communities which have a population of more than 10,000. Out of 1,000 residents in the capital just under half are from BME communities. That being said a similar, if not so dramatic, diversity is apparent in many towns and cities throughout the European Union and has become a characteristic of our urban demographic profiles.
In 1829, at the very beginning of professional policing in the UK, the first commissioner of the Metropolitan Police (Sir Richard Mayne) summarised and published a series of policing principles. Running through these principles, which still form the basis of UK policing, is a golden thread of policing by consent of the public.
ENGAGEMENT & SCRUTINY: FURTHER INFORMATION
The community engagement role of the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.
SNBs; which will obtain the views of
people about matters concerning the Metropolitan Police, and gain
their co-operation with the police in preventing crime and anti social
CPEGs currently provide the local co-ordinating structure and forum in which local people can be consulted on police work in their local area.
independent umbrella organisation, working with MOPAC, Metropolitan
Police Service (MPS), SNBs and Community and Police Engagement Groups
Public Involvement in Policing
The challenge for central government, the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), is to find effective ways of enabling engagement, accountability and scrutiny of the police and its police authority (MOPAC). Engaging and consulting with the public; advising them of their work; seeking to understand crime and disorder issues concerning the public; informing them of their achievements and consulting with them on current and future work and being accountable for that work.
The structures established for London are:
- Community and Police Engagement Groups - a Scarman recommended and evolved, semi independent community/police consultation body based at borough level.
- Safer Neighbourhood Boards - borough based boards being established by MOPAC to undertake a range of delegated local functions which will include the co-ordination of community/police consultation.
- The London Assembly Police and Crime Committee - which examines the work of the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime and reviews the Police and Crime Plan for London.
- Borough Crime and Disorder Committee - every local authority in London has a duty to ensure that it has a
committee (the “crime and disorder committee”) with power to review or
scrutinise decisions made, or other action taken by the police, local authorities and others, in connection with the
discharge of their crime and disorder
The current and developing structures are explained in the proceeding pages of this site. Their origins are in both the foundation of the Metropolitan Police (as mentioned above) and in the Scarman
Report, which identified that in diverse communities a key factor contributing to a breakdown in public confidence in the police and their motives is a lack of effective community engagement and accountability.
The need for a systematic two way conversation between the community and its police service is recognised in Section 96 of the Police Act 1996; which requires:
“ Arrangements shall be made [by the local policing body - ie in London the MOPAC] for each police area for obtaining (a) the views of people in that area about matters concerning the policing of the area, and (b) their co-operation with the police in preventing crime and anti social behaviour in that area, and for obtaining the views of victims of crime in that area about matters concerning the policing of the area”