Tuesday, September 12

Forum: Redbridge and Crime

I attended a talk tonight about local crime issues in my borough. Speaking were Police Inspector Chris Mitchell, Harveil Toor (Redbridge Crime Prevention), Satnam Singh (Redbridge Racial Equality Council) and... Me.

Inspector Mitchell spoke about how the Police were dealing with local issues like race/faith hate and forced marriages, getting more men no the street, and how it was a priority for them to get into key "ethnic" areas in order to prevent terror (and I think more than one person called him on that). In other words, it was another PR thing.

Harveil's content was a bit more interesting. She explained how statistics and trends were used to prevent crime from occurring in the first place, and how by dividing crime into groups and subgroups they can be eliminated completely. I thought that this was a bit obvious, I mean each crime has its own attributes and so it's not too difficult to stop, for example, all gold theft at the time of a wedding by telling people to look after their gold. But anyway, if it works it works.

Satnam mainly talked about identity. It was more or less the same stuff I've heard on the radio or CC, so it was pretty straightforward stuff; or at least it was for me.

Which brings me to me. Now, I was asked to come and talk about my experience with stop and searches, but listening to the others on the panel it seemed a bit out of place since the topics were mainly focused on local issues and I had been stopped around my workplace. I stuck to the plan though, and explained how mine had all been relatively painless, if a bit cold. I also told of how I do get a bit uneasy when seeing a uniform or hearing a siren, as if I'm just waiting for them to stop me. Finally I offered some suggestions of how the police could make the process more accessible by reducing the anonymity of officers, reducing the visible evidence of profiling and increasing the transparency of the process.

All in all it was a nice and pleasant talk - more of a catch up and local update than the hard core debate that I've seen in other similar forums. But apart from the subject matter, this was a chance to get more public speaking under my belt - something I've been trying to work on for the past couple of months.