This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Engagement Engagement Engagement

Good article by my old colleague Robin Clarke in the Guardian yesterday: Police commissioners need to change, and councils can show them how

He makes some excellent points about the need for PCCs to move beyond merely having a series of public meetings into diverse engagement with diverse communities. He is absolutely correct. I added this comment:

Well said Robin. We are beginning to see some emergent good practice in the shape of the PCC for West Midlands who has been running a series of Summits in order to have conversations with a wide diversity of different stakeholder groups. Contrast this with my own PCC in Thames Valley - who is at last promising to get out more... We have a long way to go.

We need PCCs to be practising community engagement that:
  • doesn't just seek opinions but also seeks the informed judgement of people
  • does not happen too late but instead happens early on the formation of policies and plans
  • ask for views about desired outputs (eg number of police on the beat) and critically outcomes too (how and what crime to focus on - and reduce)
  • does not just use a single method but, as you say, multiple methods
  • moves from merely consulting communities but engaging them in decision making and taking action themselves
  • is not only about past experiences but also people's ambitions and hopes for the future
  • is not fragmented (between different public agencies) but joined - up with other organisations such as local authorities or the Courts Service
These are the challenges.

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