How well do local police understand religious communities?

This is a good read for any of us who work with the local police – advising, attending Gold Groups, being part of Community-Police Engagement Groups, monitoring Stop and Search or by training new recruits.  It’s a good read for police officers, too.

Photo from the Metropolitan Police Press Bureau

Interviews with the police in Tower Hamlets and Barking & Dagenham by researchers from the University of Leeds revealed a complex pattern of understanding.  The purpose of the research was to help police develop ways to understand the people they serve, to form

appropriate, positive relations with local religious communities and to navigate issues of belief, faith and religion as they arise in the operational and institutional environments of British policing.

The appendix contains the immortal statement, “Faith Groups have their own fantastic community networks.”

The research was carried out by the University of Leeds in partnership with the Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme.

Do you think they got it right?  Do we get hung up on ‘rules’ when a wider understanding is needed?  Will this research help?

I liked the quote from David Ford

Our society is not simply secular; nor is it simply religious; it is both religious and secular in complex ways. If it is to work well there need to be huge numbers of conversations and collaborations across religious and secular boundaries.

You can download the full report here.  A link to a summary of the research is here.

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