• David Williams

What should community engagement look like?

In February 2020 the Police Foundation published the first in a series of Insight Papers to inform their Strategic Review. It’s worth a read if you have time []

The paper covers a lot of ground but one aspect in particular caught my eye.

Having conducted a number of group interviews with members of the public the report found that “giving people more information and an insight into the challenges confronting the police led to some radical suggestions for changes to the way public services are delivered”.

The key point here is that engagement with the public wasn't just about asking people what they thought or an annual survey. It was about having a proper debate, with both sides learning from each other in order to come to informed views, opinions and suggestions – even radical ones.

Not only that, the report suggested that there “may be a need for policy makers (including Police and Crime Commissioners, chief officers and ministers) to lead honest public appraisals of the adequacy of ‘traditional’ police/criminal justice models, and the existing configuration of services, for addressing contemporary crime and public safety challenges”.

Long hand for saying we need to involve the public properly in deciding what the future of policing should look like.

That is what the Community Advisory Boards which I will establish will do.

There will be a running programme of Boards, not one offs; they will be run across the county; they will be inclusive, diverse and representative of communities; they will be influential in determining Lincolnshire’s policing priorities; and they will be a priority.

That’s what community engagement should look like.

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