Engagement & participation – call for contributions

hands_silhouettesMany of us are either the initiators or on the receiving end of engagement or outreach activities by local public sector organisations.  We build relationships and often work in partnership with our local council, police service, NHS, fire service and others.

Participation Now is part of the Open University’s online presence and is calling for short contributions on the subject.

“To kick-start a debate about the aims and effects of contemporary participatory public engagement initiatives, we invite short, blog-post style contributions (250-1000 words) from people who are interested or involved in this area. Contributions may address one or more of the following questions: 

What can be achieved through participation and public engagement activities?  How can such aims be met?  What, for you, counts as ‘success’ ? . . . “

Find out how to contribute here.

FFL’s Faith and Policing Conference 23 April

Met_PoliceOn the morning of 23 April, Faiths Forum for London is teaming up with the Metropolitan Police to host a conversation about the relationship between the police and faith communities.

FFL’s Director, Phil Rosenberg, says

This initiative comes at the request of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, who will be among the participants.  Topics covered will include:

Diversifying the Met
Tackling Hate Crime
Faith Responses to Major Incidents
Enhancing Local Relationships
Addressing Youth Crime

Many of us will be interested in all these topics and will be able to contribute from our own local experience & expertise.

LBFN has been asked to contribute to the Enhancing Local Relationships breakout group.  I’m hoping an officer from the British Transport Police will also be able to join us.

More information about the conference is on FFL’s website.

Download the Registration Form here and return it to FFL at info@faithsforum4london.org.

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.