Why community engagement is key: ‘When people feel that their voices are heard… they are more likely to engage with the police’
As part of a week’s filming for PolicingTV with Suffolk Constabulary, PolicingTV’s Founder and Publisher, Bernard Rix, met Diverse Communities’ Co-ordinator, Stella Frangleton, and Phanuel Mutumburi, Director of the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE). Phanuel also chairs the Suffolk Stop and Search Reference Group.
Stella first tells us about the breadth of her work, introducing this as follows: “My portfolio covers both internal and external work, so I might be doing community work, reaching out to communities that we don’t typically hear from, or that we are concerned find our service more inaccessible than other communities. Or I might be doing internal work, where I’m working on the culture work that needs to be done, or maybe looking at reviewing complaints that have come in, from public or internal, or relating to discrimination”.
Phanuel explains that the Stop and Search Reference Group is “a community led group which provides public scrutiny of the way in which Suffolk Police use their stop and search powers”. ISCRE’s role, he continues, is to “facilitate engagement between police and people from Suffolk’s diverse backgrounds, whether these people live in Suffolk or are visiting Suffolk. The purpose of that exercise is to ensure that police are listening to local communities, and that they understand the needs of local communities. When people feel that they are being valued, and that their voices are heard, they are more likely to bring their concerns to the police, and they are more likely to engage with the police and provide much-needed intelligence that the police need to do their work”.
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