BME Police and Crime Chiefs wanted

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For the first time in this country, the public across England and Wales, excluding London, will elect 41 Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) who will be accountable for how crime is tackled in their police force areas.

The need to ensure we have BME police commissioners has never been more urgent. The responsibility of the newly-appointed PCC's will be to cut crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service within their force area. The elections are set to take place on 15 November 2012.

The elected PCC will hold chief constables and the force to account, making the police answerable to the public and communities they serve. A number of former politicians are putting their case forward to be elected for the position of police and crime commissioner, but there needs to be a wider pool of individuals, especially from BME backgrounds, to be the voice of the people and to hold the police to account.

There will be no elections in London as police and crime commissioner powers were transferred to the Mayor of London following the creation of the Mayor's Office for Police and Crime (MOPC). The Metropolitan Police is directly accountable to the mayor.

According to Blair Gibbs from the Policy Exchange think-tank, the policing in this country would benefit more from a diverse range of candidates standing for PCC election.

"Policing would benefit if there were more credible independents standing and fewer full-time councillors. There is still time for business figures and voluntary sector leaders to throw their hat into the ring. This new generation of police leaders ought to look very different."

Everyone registered to vote in the police force area will be able to vote, including British, EU and Commonwealth citizens living in the UK.

Jon Collins, Deputy Director of the Police Foundation, which is tracking candidates, said it was encouraging that more people, including independents, were emerging and it was important there were high-calibre candidates on the ballot in every area.

Collins said,

"The first police and crime commissioners are standing for election at a challenging time for the police and it is important that candidates and parties begin their preparation early, developing their knowledge of local policing issues and key community priorities as soon as possible. There are still some forces - like Suffolk, Surrey and Thames Valley - where there are no confirmed candidates and while there is still plenty of time until the election, the sooner that candidates come forward the more time they will have to develop their knowledge of local issues."

OBV has learnt of Ibrahim Master, a member of the Lancashire Police Authority who has put his name forward for the role of PCC in Lancashire. Afzal Khan, a Labour councillor in the city of Manchester has also been named as a candidate for the elections. Other names can be found by clicking here.

More individuals from BME communities should put themselves forward, and play a key role in holding the police accountable and bringing back some trust in the authority which is meant to serve, not alienate, the public.

To find out more and to put yourself forward, click here.

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