THE Home Secretary’s proposal to scrap the Human Rights Act 1998 is not good for police service equality, the president of the National Black Police Association has said.
Theresa May told the Conservative Party conference earlier this month that ‘the Human Rights Act needs to go’ but Charles Crichlow told Police Review these comments were a ‘very big mistake’.
‘It sets a tone within the organisation that may not be good for policing in terms of our objectives to be more sensitive towards equality and human rights issues,’ he said.
‘It is not helpful. I would want to reiterate to our members and anyone who would listen that the Human Rights Act is still here and we must not be led astray by anything the Home Secretary is saying.’
He said the Act had become law for good reasons and it was good for the service to be seen defending it.
Mr Crichlow was talking to Police Review following the NBPA education and training conference that took place in Edinburgh last Wednesday and Thursday (5 and 6 October).
During his speech at the conference, Mr Crichlow said it was ‘not going to get easier’ for black and ethnic minority officers to break through the ranks.
He said none of the forces in England and Wales had used the 2010 Equality Act’s positive action provisions, which give employers the option, when faced with two or more candidates of equal merit, to choose a candidate from a group that is under-represented in the workforce.
Mr Crichlow also said initiatives to help under-represented groups move up the ranks were being cut back, such as the Positive Action Leadership Programme and the National Senior Career Advice Service.
Last week the NBPA’s Institute for Leadership and Empowerment was launched, which Mr Crichlow hopes will be able to rescue the Positive Action Leadership Programme.
‘It is all about personal development and coaching on leadership skills. It really does help those officers trying to become sergeants or inspectors,’ he said. ‘It was open to everyone, not just black and ethnic minority officers but particularly given the historical under-representation of black and ethnic minority people in the service, there is a strong argument for those measures to be maintained.’