November 12, 2012, by Shane

Getting Active

With the Police Commissioner elections taking place this week I thought I’d change it up a bit and interview my friend Georgina about the SU’s  campaign related to these elections. Here goes:
  • What is a Police Commissioner and what role will they play?

A Police Commissioner is a new government introduced position, which controls something like £46 million worth of Police budget and is highly influential in schemes designed for crime prevention. This is the first time the position is being elected, which is good because it brings transparency to the role as they will have to answer to the people; although some people are concerned it may make policing more political, it gives us the opportunity to make the Police Commissioner accountable for the crime in Nottingham.

  • Crime affects the entire population of Nottinghamshire, why do we want the Police Commissioner to place special focus on students?

Nottingham is notorious for crime and Lenton in particular has the biggest crime rates in Nottingham.  Although crime rates have supposedly gone down in the city there is still a lot of crime that is not reported due to issues with the police.

Separate to that, crime figures show the biggest category of vulnerable people in Nottingham are women aged 18-22; this category is half of our campus! I’m sure you’ve heard of the recent case where a female student was refused service on a bus at 3am for being 20p short of the fare, which resulted in her rape; its crimes like this that we want to prevent.

Students are highly susceptible to crime, but not only that, they are also being discriminated against by the council. Students are the only residents in Nottingham who have to pay for parking permits and they are treated badly in general, yet 70% of Nottingham’s economy is run by students.

The problem is students aren’t being heard because most don’t vote as they only live here for three or four year and have voting rights in their home counties. As a result there are no numbers to represent the student’s voice to the police and council.

  • What is the aim of the Student Union’s campaign?

We have four demands we want the Police Commissioner to agree to:

1.) We want them to put cameras in taxis to avoid theft of belongings and rape cases. 

2.) We want a Police space on Forest Recreation Ground to prevent rape cases (there have been four recent cases) and prostitution that occurs there; most students would have attended Bonfire Night at this location.

3.) We want more police on the ground in Lenton particularly late at night, and more around schools

4.) 1 in 10 are more likely to be searched by police if they are Black,  1 in 4 if Asian, which is intrinsically racist. We want to introduce a receipt system so we know who’s been searched already, which will then make Police more accountable for prejudice and discrimination.

  • Is there anyway students can help or get involved with this campaign?

There is a special question night with the four candidates running for Police Commissioner @ Trent Vineyard Church in Lenton, from 5.45 – 8pm, on Monday 12th November (TONIGHT!). This is going to give the Student Union and other groups the chance to ask the candidates questions and to put forward the SU’s demands.

If loads of students turn up, the candidates will have to listen and pay attention, which in turn will help the student body know who to vote for on Thursday.

The other way to help is to VOTE THIS THURSDAY! Voting day for this election is Thursday 15th November and the more students that vote, the louder the students voice is in the candidates ear, resulting in them focusing on student issues once elected. SU president Amos is one of the first Presidents to advocate for this type of student change and we’re hoping it’s the start of making students more active in the community and in future elections.

If you’re interested in coming along to the question night this evening, contact Georgina Charles on 07757113607 by 4.00pm and she’ll be able to sort you out with a free ticket for the event. And don’t worry if you don’t know where it is, a big group of people are meeting on Lenton Boulevard at 5.30 to walk to the Church 🙂

And a big thank you to Georgina for the interview!

Posted in 2012 Shane