Sophie Khan, a solicitor-advocate and director of the Police Action Centre (PAC), who is also head of an Action Against the Police department at a leading law firm based in Surrey and London, writes:
PAC was launched last month and is the first organisation in England and Wales dedicated to providing a free, confidential and independent service to members of the public, protesters and prisoners on how to take actions against the police. The increased focus on the standard of British policing and the changes to the police complaints procedure coming into force in November 2012 will end the current role of the Independent Police Complaints Commission so that we will see a re-emergence of the police investigating the police. PAC will fill the gap which is left so that the public will be able to turn to an organisation that is on their side and able to provide free advice and information on how to challenge the police through the new complaints procedure.
In addition, PAC will act as a think-tank to identify and highlight areas of concern in British policing, and carry out independent investigations and campaign on specific police policies with the aim of achieving real change and a move to ending the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of police powers.
PAC will undertake the first independent investigation into the use of Taser stun guns by British police since they were first issued to non-firearms officers in 2008.
PAC will work with organisations such as the Stop and Search Legal Project to challenge the presumption that stop and search is a legitimate police policy.
PAC will run a specialist advice and information service for protesters and prisoners in the UK and abroad with the aim of creating a network of International Police Action Lawyers to support challenges against state authorities.
PAC will also aim to be a forum where the police and the public can engage and debate on policies in order to build a strong and accountable police force that is seen to be a part of the community.
Visit: http://policeactioncentre.org.uk/. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @policeactioncen