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PCC leads on ?symbolic first step? to allow offenders to join policing body

Some roles within forces 'will not be ruled out'
Published - 25/09/2019 By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson is urging fellow PCCs, along with the whole of the public sector, to follow his lead in giving candidates with a criminal record a chance to be assessed on their ability to do the job before any convictions are considered.

The West Midlands Office of the PCC, which supports 39 full-time posts, is determined to “practise what it preaches” in signing up to Business in the Community’s Ban The Box scheme.

It is joining more than 125 employers, including the Civil Service, Boots and Virgin Trains, who are creating a fair chance for ex-offenders to compete for jobs and bring down the £15 billion-a-year cost of reoffending.

“It is an important and symbolic first step,” a spokesman for the West Midlands PCC told Police Oracle.

“We want PCCs and local councils to join us on this.

“It is unlikely we will see offenders as police officers but some roles within forces would not be ruled out.”

The spokesman added: “We also want the rest of the public sector to join us on this.

“It’s a question of practising what you preach.

“It would be hypocritical if we asked businesses to sign up to this and were not prepared to do it ourselves.

West Midlands assistant police and crime commissioner Waheed Saleem added: “By banning the box we can create more opportunities for ex-offenders and make sure that they aren’t stigmatised by an application form.

“We know that being in work reduces the chance of reoffending considerably which is why I am supporting this campaign.

“The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner has a history of supporting ex-offenders, through providing placements and working closely with the Longford Trust to give people another chance.

“We all have a responsibility to reduce crime and I will be continuing to call on businesses and other employers to do the same.”

Having a job can reduce a person’s chance of reoffending by up to 50 per cent and the Mr Jamieson is leading the way in offering people a chance to turn their lives around while helping to keep communities safer.

At his annual business summit in January, he called on companies and public sector organisations to reach out and give a second chance to those who may have served time in prison to help break the cycle of crime.

Through signing up to Ban the Box and considering whether, when and how to ask about criminal convictions, employers can play a vital role in keeping people out of prison while gaining access to a large and diverse talent pool, PCC Jamieson maintains.

Business in the Community’s Ban the Box campaign calls on UK employers to remove the tick box and ask about criminal convictions later in the recruitment process – putting an end to the unfair discrimination of ex-offenders.

In pursuit of the target to remove the barrier on one million jobs across the UK by next year, some 135 employers with a combined workforce of about 910,000 have signed up to the campaign to date – including the entire Civil Service.

The Ministry of Justice wants to see all companies Ban the Box – calling on employers to remove the tick box asking about unspent criminal convictions from job application forms and publicly commit to considering applicants’ skills, experience and ability to do the job before asking about criminal convictions.

It is not calling for any changes to the checks and processes that are legally required when recruiting for “regulated” roles as defined by the Disclosure and Barring Service, such as jobs with children or vulnerable adults.

The UK government’s own Social Exclusion Unit reported that ‘employment reduces the risk of re-offending by between a third and a half&rsqu

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