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The Criminal Justice Alliance (CJA) has submitted a response to the Home Office’s public consultation on the revised Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) codes A and C, focusing on the safeguarding of children during police interactions, particularly in the context of strip searches. The CJA supports the proposals aimed at enhancing safeguards and transparency in these procedures, echoing the sentiments expressed by Dame Rachel De Souza, Children’s Commissioner for England. Our submission underscores the necessity for stringent measures to protect children from undue harm and to uphold their dignity during any police search. We advocate for explicit provisions within the PACE codes that emphasise the potentially traumatic impact of strip searches on children and mandate the involvement of appropriate adults in all search scenarios. Furthermore, we call for rigorous data collection and independent oversight to ensure accountability and effectiveness in implementing these revised codes.

On 15 December 2023, His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) released a report investigating our super-complaint, which advocated for the repeal of Section 60 stop and search powers. The investigation into our super-complaint yielded numerous recommendations to chief constables, the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC), the Home Office, and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC). Six months on, their responses have now been published and we are pleased to see the recommendations accepted.

However, we assert that even with the full implementation of the HMICFRS recommendations, these entrenched trends inequities are unlikely to change.

The Criminal Justice Alliance (CJA) responds to the HMICFRS report on our super-complaint regarding Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 and independent community scrutiny of stop and search. The CJA’s 2021 super-complaint called for the repeal of Section 60 powers, emphasising the need for a review of the legislation’s effectiveness. The HMICFRS report acknowledges issues of police non-compliance with legal and best practice frameworks but falls short of advocating strongly for a robust mandatory framework.

Specific concerns include the absence of interviews with individuals impacted by stop and search, child safeguarding, the questionable effectiveness of stop and search in reducing knife crime, and racial disparities. The CJA proposes a set of recommendations, including repealing Section 60, adherence to the law and best practices, prioritising lived experiences, addressing child safeguarding, adopting evidence-based policies for serious youth violence, improving police community consultative frameworks, and addressing racial disparities through collaboration with civil society partners.

The Criminal Justice Alliance has submitted a response to the Home Office’s consultation on the Draft Community Scrutiny Framework: National Guidance for Community Scrutiny Panels (CSP). With a strong emphasis on policing issues such as Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), stop and search, and victim support, the CJA recognises the critical role of community scrutiny and accountability in enhancing policing legitimacy and transparency. While we appreciate several elements in the draft guidance, we stress the importance of greater uniformity and a more comprehensive acknowledgment of the current policing context. We emphasise that effective community scrutiny can help rebuild trust with communities, especially those who have historically had strained relationships with police. Our amendments and recommendations emphasise transparency, equity, and the rebuilding of trust with all communities as key goals.

The Criminal Justice Alliance has submitted a response to the Home Office’s consultation on revisions to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) – Code A, focusing on the exercise of stop and search powers by police officers. In light of our ongoing supercomplaint to repeal Section 60 stop and search, we expressed concerns about the expansion of such searches. We welcome certain revisions in the code, such as improved communication of authorisations to the public, data collection for annual reports, and updated ethnic categories. However we urgently need greater community engagement and the inclusion of perspectives of those directly affected by these powers in policy development.

In this response to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and College of Policing (CoP)’s Police Race Action Plan, we welcome the commitment of the police to becoming an anti-racist police service that is trusted by Black people, and the positive direction set out in the Plan. However, we have also highlighted our overall and fundamental concerns that the Plan overlooks key areas that would improve policing for Black people, such as a specific focus on improving Black detainees’ experiences of police custody and addressing Black women and girls’ experiences of policing.  We also state that the Plan’s ambitions are undermined by recent policy decisions to extend some police powers that disproportionately affect Black people. Our members are also concerned that the plan has not been co-produced with Black communities.

In this response to the Home Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry into drugs, we recommend the government introduce a new, health-based legislative framework for drug use. This framework should be based on the findings of an independent review on the potential for licensing, decriminalisation, legalisation, regulation and taxation of drugs in England and Wales.

We also recommend the expansion of drug diversion schemes, drug courts and Community Sentence Treatment Requirements, as well as evidence-based harm reduction measures, such as Overdose Prevention Centres (OPCs) and drug checking services, in order to make national progress on our drug policy.

In this report, we explore the effectiveness of independent custody visitors at monitoring race and gender equality in police custody. We found some examples of positive work by independent custody visitors to improve the treatment and welfare of Black, Asian and minority ethnic people and women in police custody. However, a number of custody visitors lack understanding of institutional racism and discrimination, and custody visiting schemes need to be more racially diverse to better reflect the people detained in police custody. We also found a range of systemic barriers preventing custody visitors from monitoring race and gender equality effectively.

This joint briefing from a coalition of criminal justice organisations outlines how 10 clauses in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will deepen racial inequality in the criminal justice system, and without evidence that they will reduce crime or improve public safety. We draw on the government’s own equality assessments, which acknowledge that most of the provisions reviewed in this briefing are indirectly discriminatory. We also highlight the government’s lack of evidence that they are a ‘proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim’ and the lack of sufficient mitigation of their impact on Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

In March, the CJA and a coalition of organisations wrote to the Prime Minister, warning that the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will deepen existing racial inequality in the criminal justice system, leading to more Black, Asian and minority ethnic people being swept into the criminal justice system for ever increasing periods of their lives. We have now received a response from the government.

This report sets out the CJA’s super-complaint into section 60 stop and search. It draws on submissions from national and grassroots organisations, academics and former police officers as well as the CJA’s own research. The CJA argues that section 60 is harmful, ineffective and unnecessary, and calls for the government to repeal the power. It also recommends how community scrutiny of wider stop and search could be made more effective.

Annex 1 contains submissions from supporting individuals and organisations discussing their concerns around section 60.

Annex 2 is a deep analysis of data around section 60, secured through Freedom of Information requests.

This briefing from a coalition of criminal justice and race equality organisations explores how the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill could deepen racial inequality in the criminal justice system. It analyses the equality impact assessments behind the Bill, and calls for the government to withdraw the discriminatory measures and launch a proper public consultation.

In this response to Phase Two of the Strategic Review of Policing, the CJA discusses trust and confidence in policing, the need for improved internal and external scrutiny around the use of police powers,  improving diversity in the police force, and what the future of policing might look like.

We wrote to the Ministry of Justice in March, setting out our concerns that the government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will deepen racial inequality in the criminal justice system and asking for further details on how the government has assessed the disproportionate impact of the legislation. We have received a response from the justice secretary providing more detail.

Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) play a crucial role in tackling crime, addressing the needs of their communities and ensuring the justice system is fair and effective. This document highlights some of the main challenges currently facing the criminal justice system and provides practical, innovative solutions that PCCs could include in their plans upon taking office. It also focuses on ideas that involve working together with community and voluntary sector organisations, making use of the unique convening role of PCCs.

Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs) will give the police the power to stop and search people who have previously been convicted of carrying a knife. The CJA strongly opposes the implementation of SVROs, which will not address the underlying reasons for reoffending and knife carrying, instead disrupting a person’s rehabilitative journey by encouraging officers to continuously stop and search them.

Routes to Recovery draws on discussions with CJA members in virtual meetings in June and July. The report highlights challenges and good practice during COVID-19 across policing, courts, prisons, probation and resettlement, victims’ services, mental health and drug and alcohol services. The report also provides recommendations for policy makers, highlighting how they can build a better criminal justice system following the pandemic.

In this submission to the Home Affairs Select Committee consultation on ‘The Macpherson Report: Twenty one years on’, we discuss the continued ethnic and racial disproportionality in the use of police powers. In the response, we focus on stop and search, the use of police force, disproportionate use of COVID-19 powers, the lack of independent scrutiny of policing, the lack of BAME representation in police forces, and more.

In this briefing, which is a response to the Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry on the Home Office’s preparedness for COVID-19, the CJA gives recommendations on policing and supporting victims.

In this briefing for the Women and Equalities Select Committee, the CJA discusses the impact of COVID-19 on those with protected characteristics within the criminal justice system.