The Lammy Review into the treatment of, and outcomes for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) individuals in the criminal justice system once again highlighted the significant race inequalities in our justice system. Clinks held two roundtable events at both Labour and Conservative Party Conferences, supported by Barrow Cadbury Trust, to discuss the Review’s findings and recommendations. Each week an attendee at one of the roundtables will write about their reflections on the review, in the context of their own position and sphere of influence, and what they plan to do in response to it.
The fourth blog in the series comes from Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner.
I have known David Lammy for many years. He always asks tough questions and in his recent report he has come up with some suggested conclusions. Personally, I’m surprised that some of the Judiciary and elements of the press have reacted so vigorously.
My major concern is that David’s report will end up gathering dust on the bookshelf!
Why do I say this?
First, the report was commissioned by the then Prime Minister, David Cameron. He’s long left the political scene. Although Prime Minister May will be interested, I’m not sure if she will take ownership of it.
Second, we’re told that the Ministry for Justice will respond to the report. I think there is a danger that we will wait a long time for a response. Like everyone else, Brexit is on their minds.
Third, the report cuts across departmental boundaries. This is always an issue for Government which finds it hard to escape from individual silos.
So what should be our response? I’m clear about what I’m going to do. I’ve started some discussions here in Nottinghamshire about whether we can begin to implement some of the recommendations in the report.
I’m not going to take a big bite but I’m trying to put together a project which will really make a difference.
Women form a very small proportion of the criminal justice system. Black and Asian women form an even smaller part. Using and pooling our resources, we can work together to keep them out of the system.
Partners are coming together locally to focus on this small group and work out individual interventions. I’m grateful to Nottingham Women’s Centre for coming on board. Nottinghamshire Police are committed too as is our local Community Rehabilitation Company. Both the Courts Service and the Crown Prosecution Service have expressed an interest.
There may be other partners out there in the voluntary sector who have ideas to contribute. If so get in touch – there’s some limited funding available. You don’t see that offer made much these days.
Put simply, writing reports and making recommendations is important. However, it is more important to face the challenges and work together to make much overdue changes.
I think we can do it.
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Here's the link to the White Paper launched today 'A Smarter Approach to Sentencing'. Clinks will be responding on behalf of voluntary organisations working in the criminal justice system. #Sentencing