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Working together to tackle disproportionality in the criminal justice system

An image of all particiapnts at the tackling disproportionality event

At a tackling disproportionality in the criminal justice system event on Friday, Chief Constable Sarah Crew joined Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford to call on leaders across Avon and Somerset’s criminal justice system to join in a resolve to make change happen.

Sarah Crew said, “I truly believe that working together we can bring about real change; real change that improves people’s lives, and real change that puts right past and present wrongs and injustices. I know there is a sense of patience being really stretched in some communities, and a feeling of disbelief that the system is ever going to change. It is another wakeup call for us that change needs to happen and us as leaders need to be part of making that change happen. It should be critical for every leader of every organisation, not just policing.

“I want to live and work in a society where our criminal justice system is accessible to all and is fair and equitable in its treatment of everyone. I want it to inspire confidence and trust in everyone, irrespective of their race or their background.

“We know through the work Desmond Brown has done, to produce our local Identifying Disproportionality Report, that it [our criminal justice system] achieves none of those things. It is not accessible, and it’s not fair, and it’s not equitable.

“We have an opportunity now – here, in Avon and Somerset, that might not come again. It is our privilege and responsibility to seize that opportunity.

“I don’t want to look back on my career and see the same injustices that I see now. I urge all leaders in the criminal justice system to feel the same and share my resolve for change. We need to look back on today in years to come with pride and satisfaction that when our moment for change came, as leaders in the criminal justice system, we acted.”

Since the 29th of March 2022, when the ‘Identifying Disproportionately in the Avon & Somerset Criminal Justice System’ report was launched, work has been undertaken and progress has been made across organisations. There has been a willingness to face the issues raised and work has started to address matters identified in the report’s recommendations.

On Friday, leaders from each organisation updated each other on the initiatives happening right now. These included changes being made to our stop and search processes and training, and changes being made to recruitment processes to make sure we have representation across our organisations, among many other actions being progressed. Every leader present made personal and organisational commitments to change.

You can read about the 83 recommendations for action in the report, which was created as a catalyst for change.

A picture of Chief Constable Sarah Crew presenting to the room
Chief Constable Sarah Crew at the event