On Wednesday 20th December 2017, Forward Thinking facilitated a roundtable meeting between Baljit Ubhey, the Director of Prosecution Policy and Inclusion, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Graham Ritchie, Head of Policy and Inclusion, and a diversity of London-based community and Islamic faith organisations and representatives, hosted at Finsbury Park Mosque.
The roundtable meeting followed a two-day visit that the CPS made to community and Islamic faith organisations across West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester in late October 2017. The collective aim of these meetings has been for community representatives with constituency to inform the CPS’s community engagement strategy, provide an assessment of its activities, and to explore both the immediate implications of CPS policy and community responses on the ground.
The meeting provided an analysis of the ongoing challenges faced by Muslim communities who, as highlighted by the recent Lammy Review, are disproportionately represented across the British criminal justice system. With over 4.5 million people belonging to a BAME group in London alone, engaging with London’s diverse Muslim communities is particularly important.
It was recognised that public confidence in and understanding of the CPS and the wider criminal justice system is low and needs to be addressed. Whilst there is no ‘silver bullet’ to address the manifold challenges faced, reinvigorating existing – and/or forging new – relationships between the CPS and communities is a key first step to boosting public confidence and quashing misconceptions of both the CPS and the wider criminal justice system.