How we deal with com­mu­nity co­he­sion

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - City Beat - Kate Fir­man, Safer Peter­bor­ough Part­ner­ship

Peter­bor­ough is made up of di­verse com­mu­ni­ties which we know can some­times cause mis­un­der­stand­ings and lead to ten­sion. One way we deal with this is through a Ten­sion Mon­i­tor­ing Group (TMG).

The group meets reg­u­larly to dis­cuss cur­rent is­sues and im­prove re­la­tion­ships in the com­mu­nity. It’s chaired by a po­lice Com­mu­nity Co­he­sion In­spec­tor, Nikki Hall, who works closely with me in the Safer Peter­bor­ough Part­ner­ship (SPP) and the Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil Co­he­sion Man­ager, Jawaid Khan.

Other mem­bers of the group in­clude the Chair of Pro­mot­ing African Refugee Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion (PARCA), the Syr­ian refugee re-set­tle­ment pro­gramme, a Sis­ter from the church, Safer Schools and Re­gional Col­lege rep­re­sen­ta­tives, the coun­cil’s Youth Fa­cil­i­ties Man­ager, Chair of MANERP, Cross Keys Homes Hate Crime Co-or­di­na­tor, an LGBT rep­re­sen­ta­tive, com­mu­nity con­nec­tors and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the po­lice hate crime team. This month we also had a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from a fairly new group called Com­mu­nity First which now works closely with the team.

Other mem­bers of the com­mu­nity can be in­vited to one-off TMGs. For ex­am­ple, post Brexit we held an emer­gency TMG and in­vited a larger group to at­tend to en­sure rep­re­sen­ta­tion from all east­ern Euro­pean com­mu­ni­ties as well as the com­mu­nity con­nec­tors. We also have the ca­pa­bil­ity to es­ca­late any is­sues to a higher level when nec­es­sary – as we did when we brought to­gether a po­lice Su­per­in­ten­dent, coun­cil­lors, mosque lead­ers and other key lead­ers in re­sponse to racist /anti- Is­lamic com­mu­nity fly­ers found near a mosque in May.

The ap­proach this group adopts is very much a ‘nip it in the bud’ one, and works proac­tively with all com­mu­nity con­tacts as well as ser­vice providers.

The sorts of is­sues we dis­cuss in­clude the threat from ter­ror­ism, unau­tho­rised trav­eller en­camp­ments, the EU ref­er­en­dum re­sults, ten­sions linked to drug deal­ing and forth­com­ing com­mu­nity events.

Hav­ing iden­ti­fied the is­sues, we work to­gether to try to re­duce any po­ten­tial im­pact that might be detri­men­tal to har­mony in the city.

Our hate crime meet­ings are of­ten held di­rectly af­ter the TMG as the sub­jects are closely linked. A hate crime is “a crime that the vic­tim or any other per­son per­ceives to be mo­ti­vated by hos­til­ity or prej­u­dice to­wards any as­pect of a per­son’s iden­tity.”

Po­lice forces in Eng­land, Wales and North­ern Ire­land an­nu­ally mon­i­tor the five strands of hate crime; dis­abil­ity, gen­der iden­tity, race, eth­nic­ity or na­tion­al­ity, re­li­gion, faith or be­lief or sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion.

Since Fe­bru­ary, the po­lice have suc­cess­fully iden­ti­fied and dealt with of­fend­ers in 24 hate crimes. Re­ports have in­volved racist re­marks to neigh­bours, po- lice of­fi­cers dur­ing ar­rests, taxi driv­ers, door staff and even strangers on the street.

We have dealt with the of­fend­ers in a num­ber of dif­fer­ent ways. Some have been deemed as low level and a good out­come has been a com­mu­nity res­o­lu­tion. This is when the of­fender re­ceives ei­ther a penalty no­tice for dis­or­der, a con­di­tional cau­tion or is asked to write a letter of apol­ogy to the vic­tim. Other cases have gone to court and re­sulted in of­fend­ers be­ing given a con­di­tional dis­charge or com­mu­nity or­der where they have to pay costs, com­pen­sa­tion and fines.

The group mon­i­tors these crimes to see if there are any trends that we need to iden­tify and tackle by in­ter­ven­tion, pre­ven­tion or en­force­ment. Peter­bor­ough is a vi­brant, tol­er­ant and united city where hate crime is not to be tol­er­ated and we would en­cour­age any­one who ex­pe­ri­ences it to re­port it.

There are var­i­ous ways you can re­port hate crime: Tele­phone po­lice “101” (Non-Emer­gency) Cam­bridgeshire Po­lice web­site -

http://www.cambs-po­lice.co.uk/vic­tims/re­port_ on­line/ The True Vi­sion on­line re­port­ing, Re­port It - http://re­port-it.org.uk/ home Sim­ple re­port­ing form. Email to - www.cambs.po­lice.uk/ con­tac­tus/con­tact.asp

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