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Northamptonshire Police acknowledges the mounting upset and concern which is building in a number of communities across the county and further afield following the tragic death of George Floyd in Minnesota which has sparked days of violence engulfing cities across the US.
Chief Constable Nick Adderley said: “In this county we continue to work closely with all the communities we serve, constantly striving to forge positive relations and build a spirit of mutual trust.
“Legitimacy is the watchword when it comes to policing and while we would acknowledge that disproportionality does still exist, we remain absolutely committed to tackling this, working with a range of partners and our trade unions and police staff associations acting as our critical friends.
“The way in which we engage and police our communities going forward is absolutely critical to ensuring public confidence is maintained and enhanced.
“The Northamptonshire Black Police Association and the Muslim Police Association continue to act as key professional advisers to our senior leadership team, both in helping the Force shape the way we protect the many different communities living in this county, ensuring their views and experiences are always heard and represented.
“We are aware of a number of peaceful protests planned in Northamptonshire and elsewhere over the coming days and we will, where necessary, deploy officers to ensure they pass off safely. We will be asking protestors to respect the social distancing requirements as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but recognise too that we also respect the rights of individuals to conduct a peaceful protest.”
Sgt Megan Sae-Thang, chair of the Northamptonshire BPA, said: “We recognise and share the justified strength of feeling from communities within the county and their right to protest peacefully.
“We would ask that anyone taking part in these events remains mindful of the extra risk to BME people from COVID-19 and as such takes the appropriate preventative measures, maintaining social distancing and wearing appropriate PPE.”
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold is elected to be the link between the community and the police in Northamptonshire and to hold the Chief Constable to account, monitoring how officers use their powers, to ensure they act proportionately towards everyone.
He said: “In England, policing is by consent. The legitimacy of Northamptonshire Police rests on the fact that police work in partnership with local people and have their trust.
“Our police can only maintain that trust by reflecting constantly on how they use their powers and understanding the impact on every section of the community.
“I want people to feel that Northamptonshire Police reflects them, treats them fairly and keeps them safe. There is absolutely no room for complacency and we have seen what can happen when the trust between the police and the public they serve breaks down.
“The awful death of George Floyd makes us all look in the mirror. I believe the Force has measures in place to understand how its activities affect all communities, especially minority communities. However good these measures are, they are just a part of an ongoing journey. We need to keep working hard to ensure that policing is fair and equal to everyone – on issues of race and every other point that makes us different.
“I will continue to work with the Chief Constable to ensure the Force demonstrates that officers are always aware of the impact of actions and work openly to keep the trust of the people they serve.”
Sophia Perveen, Chair of the Association of Muslim Police, said: “This is a turning point for everyone. As an association, we strongly advocate the needs of minority communities and will always look to support individuals and the police force to create better race relations at all times.
“No one individual should have superiority over another. By working together for change, we can be stronger.”