The future of policing is always a massive talking point for any community – from all things diversity to the importance of mental health.
In May this year the elections for Police and Crime Commissioner are due to take place, and one former police officer is looking to make a big difference himself.
Sam North, from Hitchin, Hertfordshire, is running for the role of Police and Crime Commissioner for the Liberal Democrats.
His aim is to tackle inequality, boost the morale of officers in the force and diminish racial injustice.
The ex-police officer expressed a six-point plan to change policing in Hertfordshire for the better – one of those main categories is mental health.
A survey conducted by the Police Federation in December 2020 revealed that personal morale was the lowest within Herts police officers.
A total of 56 per cent of Hertfordshire respondents said their morale was low or very low, the highest figure across the 43 police forces in England and Wales, with the national average at 48 per cent.
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Sam said: “Police are the ones where, often, mental health issues sort of fall through the cracks, including crime reduction support officers.
“Officers are under an incredible amount of stress and strain, especially recently with Covid, and with everything we’ve been told to do.
“So we need to ensure officers are appropriately supported.”
Another major issue for Sam is tackling racial discrimination. Latest official data shows that Black people are nine times more likely to be stopped and searched.
As part of Sam’s campaign, he spoke to local organisers of Black and Asian community groups discussing the overarching issues which are present right now.
Sam explained: “I want to go through some of the lived experiences that these people have had and understand how their personal experiences have come into how they view the police.”
By getting the votes to be the next Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, he wants to also tackle the inequality with women – both in the public and in the force – and people with disabilities.
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The Hitchin candidate expressed how discrimination is not only seen in the police but within local councils too.
“The difference in the way that people in our society are treated is just wrong,” he added.
“It’s horrible and things need to change.”
The current PCC for Herts is David Lloyd, who as been in the role since 2012.
Police and Crime Commissioner elections will take place on Thursday, May 6, 2021.
If you want to have a say in the improvements of policing in your area in Hertfordshire, you can click on Sam’s survey and your answers will be considered and actioned during his campaign and subsequent election.