28 October 2021:
16 November 2021:
Q&A webinar with Abimbola Johnson; NPCC and College of Policing Action Plan leads; and Inclusive Boards for those interested in applying to board vacancies. You can watch back the webinar here.
5 December 2021:
w/c 14 February 2022:
Interviews with shortlisted candidates
Abimbola Johnson (ISOB Chair);
Leslie Thomas QC (Human Rights Barrister and Legal Academic);
Hon Stuart Lawrence (Author, Public Speaker and brother of the late Stephen Lawrence);
Andy George (Chair, National Black Police Association); and
T/Superindendent Hector McKoy (Internal Culture Workstream Coordination for the Plan of Action)
w/c 28 February 2022:
Provisional offers made, subject to vetting
Board announcement coming soon!
Recruitment to the Board is now closed
28 October 2021
A message from the Chair
Thank you for taking the time to consider applying for this role as a member of the Independent Oversight and Scrutiny Board (ISOB) for the Police Plan of Action on Inclusion and Race.
Black people have been disproportionately affected by policing for decades. This is reflected in the reams of statistics and reports we have seen over the years. This November, for example, marks the 40th anniversary of the Scarman report which highlighted concerns around the disproportionate use of force; stop and search; poor communication with Black communities; and a lack of Black representation within the service.
Many of us have had personal experiences with the police that have been unsatisfactory, unfair or even harmful and many of us know of others with similar stories. The revival last year of the Black Lives Matter movement sparked by the murder of George Floyd in the US also brought attention to concerning cases in the UK such as the death of Kevin Clark and the behaviour of officers dealing with the murder investigations of Nicola Smallman and Bibaa Henry. Those cases and experiences have wide reaching ramifications within our communities. Predictably this is reflected in the fact that Black people have the lowest levels of trust and confidence in the police.
I hope the creation of an action plan and a parallel independent board to inform, oversee and scrutinise that plan marks a recognition by the police that the onus is on them to look inwards. At the same time, the service must listen to those who have experience and expertise to create effective and longstanding systemic change.
I am looking to recruit six board members that will fearlessly advocate for the interests of Black people, while working collaboratively to develop policing that wins our trust and delivers on public protection. I recognise that this may seem like an example of being asked to fix a problem not created by us. I recognise that many may be hesitant to apply on the basis that this seems like ‘more of the same.’ I had similar initial concerns and it took me some time to decide to apply to the role of Chair.
I know that after last year we saw a lot of empty sentiment: black squares on social media, corporate statements that rang hollow, anti-racism reading lists that didn’t translate into actual change. This Board will not be a plastic committee. You will be duly respected. Your roles paid, your time protected, and you will be given training at the beginning of your tenure to assist with handling social media, media interviews and with protecting your mental health throughout your tenure. Alongside recruitment, I am putting in place robust terms of reference and clear decision-making processes with include agreed pathways by which the Board may escalate identified shortfalls to relevant statutory bodies. The work of drafting and implementing the action plan rests on the Police. Our role is to scrutinise and to hold them accountable to their word. Responsibility for delivery of the Plan remains their burden.
We will also have the support of a stellar forum whose membership will be drawn from individuals and organisations with an interest in scrutinising the police including: NGOs, charities, Independent Advisory Groups; Police and Crime Panels; local community groups; and civilians. Finally, we have unfettered access to data, and the commitment of each of the 43 police forces in England and Wales to deliver on this Action Plan.
Please do not hesitate to apply if you think you do not fit the typical mould of a board member. Prior board experience is not a necessity, and a previous criminal history will not be an automatic bar to selection. I am interested in who you are now, and not what you did previously. I am interested to hear from people with lived experience who are keen to contribute to the aim of constructively holding the Police to account. Ultimately, having a range of voices and backgrounds on this Board will only bolster its ability to properly scrutinise.
There are four workstreams in the draft Plan of Action:
Use of Powers;
Internal Culture and Inclusivity;
Community Relations, Engagement and Perception; and
Protection Against Victimisation and Harm.
Ideally, I would like to recruit:
one board member for each workstream;
a member with experience in data and statistical analysis; and
a member with specific experience in change management.
I look forward to welcoming an exceptional group of individuals to this board. Commitment will be at least 16 hours per month with board meetings held every 2 months.
Chair of the Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Board on the Police Plan of Action on Inclusion and Race