Public invited to Community Engagement Forum in Gloucester
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How officers have responded to concerns from the public and progress against the Police Race Action Plan are on the agenda as senior officers from Gloucestershire Constabulary face questions from the public in Gloucester next week.
The Community Engagement Forum is taking place between 6.30pm and 8.30pm on Thursday 11 January, at the Church of God of Prophecy, 25 Melbourne Street East, GL1 4NU and anyone interested in asking questions or sharing their experiences and views is encouraged to come along.
Amongst issues raised by people at the Forum last time were concerns around support for domestic abuse victims, officers stopping lone black women on the road late at night and the manner in which some police speak with communities.
Six individual incidents were raised by audience members at the event in January 2023 and in each case further enquiries have been made to identify and respond as appropriate to any police staff involved and resolve the concerns raised.
Senior officers and police staff will give more detail at the meeting about the steps being taken to address the wider concerns including new, nationally acclaimed, ‘Domestic Abuse Matters’ training being delivered to all officers, the establishment of a 'Victims’ Hub' to ensure victims are updated more regularly and action to improve how officers communicate with the public.
Chief Constable Rod Hansen said: “The Police Race Action Plan is a critical piece of work that is ongoing within the Constabulary and at every stage we want to engage with the community and ensure community members are integral to how it is developed.
“But we recognise that, often, the most powerful tool in making change is understanding and capturing communities’ lived experiences of the Constabulary. So, we not only want to listen to the feedback from our communities but also demonstrate how we are responding to their feedback.
"Improving representation from our diverse communities within the force is extremely important as well. With that in mind we will be able to assist anyone with questions related to recruitment.
"We welcome all views, and hope the Forum will continue to foster open, honest dialogue between the Constabulary and the communities we serve.”
Organisers also want the Forum to encourage interest in the Community Legitimacy Panel and other scrutiny panels the Constabulary runs.
The Community Legitimacy Panel (CLP) is organising the event with the Constabulary.
Teddy Burton, CLP Chair, highlighted the importance of events like the Forum: “People from all backgrounds recognise that, in order to keep communities safe, it is appropriate to vest powers, some of which are coercive, in the hands of the police. However, it is essential that those powers are used equitably, proportionately, and only when necessary.
“These forums offer the opportunity for community members to share their experiences of policing, highlight where change is required and, if the constabulary responds correctly, this will enhance legitimacy.”
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Evans, who will be attending on the night, said: “The role of the Police and Crime Commissioner is to act as the public voice in policing and in turn, holds the Constabulary to account.
“This Forum is an excellent way of keeping that two way communication between the police and the communities that they serve.
“I will be attending on the night and will be listening closely; both to understand the public experience of policing and the Constabulary’s progress towards implementing the Police Race Action Plan and becoming an anti-discriminatory organisation.
"People’s lived experiences are so vital in making sure that policing is working with communities in the right way, and this event I hope will be a healthy dialogue about this important matter.”
A Caribbean buffet will be available to those attending the event and parking is available at Kingfisher Church, Moor Street, Gloucester, GL1 4NJ.