Police Commissioners must seek the expertise of the BME VCS sector to strengthen offender rehabilitation


News release from Voice4Change EnglandVoice4Change England
21st May 2013

For immediate release

Police Commissioners must seek the expertise of the BME VCS sector to strengthen offender rehabilitation

The government’s legislative plans to give more powers to Police and Crime Commissioners announced recently in the Queen’s Speech highlights an important need for stronger engagement with the BME VCS sector.

Voice 4 Change England (V4CE) believes that the new proposals under the government’s Offender Rehabilitation Bill are concerning. Although V4CE welcomes the government’s commitment to offender rehabilitation it is important that police commissioners engage with the BME sector.

Statistics revealed by the Ministry of justice in 2012 revealed that as many as 43 per cent of BMEs in London use probation services, stressing the need for commissioners to engage with providers who are well equipped for service delivery. Furthermore, systems need to be put in place to ensure fair competition for diverse rehabilitation service provision from both the private and public sector.

Saqib Deshmukh, V4CE Development Officer, said: “Giving more powers to Police and Crime Commissioners so they can commission victims services is hugely problematic, and giving them more authority at a time when they are still (outside of London) very much in an embryonic stage. Payment by results is hardly an incentive when capacity within these BME VCS groups is already stretched to the limit. Police and crime commissioners must prioritise engagement with these groups to strengthen prevention work and address disproportionality locally.”

Neena Samota, V4CE trustee, said: “The government's Transforming Rehabilitation - A Strategy for Reform document falls short, yet again, in acknowledging the entrenched problem of ethnic disproportionality and the importance of prevention work. Real reductions in re-offending will be made possible through addressing disproportionate outcomes and better engagement of black and minority ethnic led organisations in prevention work.”


Notes to editors:

Voice4Change England (V4CE) is a national advocate for the Black and Minority Ethnic voluntary and community sector (BME VCS). BME voluntary and community organisations (BME VCOs) are a crucial part of civil society that have emerged from and work for BME communities. By supporting the BME VCS we aim to improve the life outcomes for BME and other disadvantaged communities.

For more information or interviews please contact Communications Officer Samantha Watson on 020 7697 4245 or email swatson@voice4change-england.co.uk

Follow us on twitter: www.twitter.com/v4ce