Scrutiny panel praised for its role in helping to tackle hate crime in Calderdale

Inpector Allan Raw (left) and David Glover
Inpector Allan Raw (left) and David Glover

A scrutiny panel has been praised for the role it plays in helping to improve the way police investigate hate crimes and handle victims.

Each month the Calderdale Hate Crime Scrutiny Panel examine five finalised investigations from the last six months - chosen by the group at random - which involve hate crime occurrences and five which involve stop and search.

During the meeting at Halifax Police Station cases are presented by a senior officer and panel members can ask questions relating to the investigating officer’s handling of the case and leave feedback on what could be improved.

And Neighbourhood Policing Support Inspector Allan Raw said this scrutiny and feedback helps officers maintain standards when it comes to investigating hate crimes.

“The scrutiny panel is quite intrusive in terms of how it looks at hate crimes. They do scrutinise the crimes in detail and ask some probing questions from our point of view,” he said. 

“It’s a drive for us to be doing the job right in the first place - not because we’re being scrutinised but because we want to do right by victims of hate crime.

“There are far more positives than negatives that have come out of the scrutiny panels, but there have been times when we have had to hold our hands up and say we have got that some aspect of an investigation wrong. Our aim is to ensure the same mistakes are not repeated and that our services to victims of hate crime is continually improved”

David Glover, vice chairman of the scrutiny panel, said the panel is not out to get the police but to improve the service they offer.

Mr Glover said: “The aim of the hate crime scrutiny panel for Calderdale is to ensure openness in the police’s actions and to increase public confidence in how they deal with hate crime and stop and search. 

“Members come from various backgrounds - some are from voluntary organisations, some are from statutory organisations and some are members of the public.

“We examine randomly selected and anonymised cases that relate to various circumstances - disability, race, religion, sexual orientation and transexuality.

“We’re trying to help the police help the public by improving services. We suggest improvements to procedures.

“We can, and do, make a difference and the police accept and agree with this. We try not to be critical of the police. We sit alongside them and try to inform each other to a certain extent.

“We would hope that we make a difference to the way investigations are handled. If we make any recommendations it would be so police procedure is improved in the future.”