Police watchdog to look for ‘disproportionality’ within Hertfordshire policing

A new ‘disproportionality’ working group has been launched by the police and crime panel

Hertfordshire's police watchdog is to set up a taskforce to look at ‘disproportionality’ in actions taken by the police force.

The new ‘disproportionality’ working group has been launched by the police and crime panel, in the wake of a response to an FOI request earlier this year.

That FOI request – made to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner – requested information on the monitoring of the relationship between policing and racial equality.

Police stock image
Police stock image

But it was refused on the grounds that the Commissioner did not hold the information.

The police and crime panel was asked to consider the matter earlier this year, when it determined that the PCC had answered the question appropriately.

But on Thursday, June 24, panel chair Cllr Siobhan Monaghan announced this was a “missed opportunity” and that the panel would be setting up a working group to look at ‘disproportionality’.

And that group – to be chaired by Conservative Cllr Pervez Choudhury (Hertsmere) – will look at any ‘disproportionality’ relating to any ‘protected characteristic’.

‘Protected characteristics’ are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. And it is against the law to discriminate against someone because of them.

Following the meeting, Cllr Monaghan said the working group would seek to highlight whether and where there was disproportionality in policing in Hertfordshire – including areas such as ‘stop and search’.

She said it would look at any steps that already were being taken to address any ‘disproportionality’.

And where further action could be taken, she said they would seek to influence or make recommendations to the Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd.

In addition she said that where the Commissioner takes action, they would be looking to see it resulted in the right outcome.

“We can see already from things like ‘stop and search’ data that there is some dis-proportionality,” she said.

“We want to work with David Lloyd to understand his strategy, what is put in place to address it and what he expects the outcomes to be.”

At the meeting the panel also agreed to set up a working group to look at finance, which will be chaired by Conservative Cllr Alexander Curtis (East Herts).

And there will be a working group designed to look more closely at the ‘Prevention First’ approach, which will be chaired by Labour Cllr Jackie Holywell (Stevenage).