1 May 2012

Stop and Search your Police & Crime Commissioner

Kam Gill's avatar

StopWatch introduces our campaign to ensure that those at the sharp end of policing have their say in this year's Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

On November 15 2012 citizens across the country will be given the opportunity to vote for their Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC). This represents a radical break with previous traditions of policing.

These changes represent a significant cause for concern. The police have often struggled to establish their democratic tendencies, however as the American example demonstrates elections are not necessarily a solution to this. Elected commissioners will have unprecedented licence to determine priorities for local policing. On the one hand this means that the public have the opportunity to really ask difficult questions of those who would police them. On the other there is the risk that shallow populism and dog- whistle rhetoric drown out serious debate.

Who are we?

StopWatch is a coalition of legal experts, academics, citizens and Civil Liberties campaigners. We aim to address disproportionality in stop and search, promote best practice and ensure fair, efffective policing for all.

Our aim

We believe that PCCs also represent an opportunity; for the first time police authorities will have to apply to those they intend to police. At StopWatch we want to use this opportunity to make sure that stop and search is part of the debate and that all members of the community have their say. Turn out for local elections has historically been low in Britain, for a Commissioner to have a genuine mandate it is vital that as many people from all sides of society take part in the elections in November. This must include members of minority and marginalised groups.

The campaign

We will be organising a campaign to make this happen. Our campaign will focus on three key areas – Ipswich, Leicester and the West Midlands. In each of these we will work with local partners to organise events (hustings, question time events etc) distribute campaign materials and provide commentary. Our intention is that no one be elected in these areas without having to explain how they would make policing fair and accountable to the whole community.

For more information, read our PCC manifesto.