PCC reaches out to Crawley Interfaith Network as part of ongoing focus groups

25/03/2019

Two members from the Office of the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne met with the Crawley Interfaith Network to discuss their perceptions of policing and community safety. This forms part of the PCCs ongoing Focus Groups, reaching out to all communities in Sussex. This meeting took place a week after the terrorist attacks in New Zealand and media reports of a lack of police response nationally to hate crime.

Sussex Police have stepped up reassurance patrols around mosques and increased engagement with communities of all faiths. In the wake of these attacks, the PCC wants to ensure that members of these communities feel safe in Sussex and welcomes any concerns or recommendations they give to how Sussex Police could improve in their handling of targeted hate crime and terrorism.

With such a strong current focus on anti-discrimination and equality it is encouraging to note how far the Force in Sussex has come to embrace diversity. However, faith leaders would like to see further improvements made.

Ahsan Ahmedi, President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association  and member of the Crawley Interfaith Network comments:

“In the mid-90s my wife was targeted and subject to hate crime because she wore a hijab, back then the police didn’t do much to help. Now, if there is an incident at the Mosque the police response is very quick. I’ve met Chief Inspector Rosie Ross a few times and she is very supportive, we have an overall good relationship with Sussex Police.

“However, I would like to see even more effort made by the police to better understand the diverse communities they serve and use the Faith Leaders, who are at their disposal, to change the narrative in our communities and build trust towards the police.”

Mrs Bourne comments:

“No one deserves to be targeted because of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability and it will not be tolerated. It is heartening at this time to hear the recognition of how far the Force have come and how these communities feel a general sense of safety.

“The richness and diversity of our communities here in Sussex is one of our greatest strengths and the police have done some fantastic work both internally and externally with the public to promote diversity and inclusivity.

“However, I agree with these Faith Leaders that improvements could be made to proactively reach out to networks, like Crawley Interfaith, who have expressed interest in supporting the police in their efforts to stamp out hate crime.

“Today I attended a minute’s silence for the Christchurch victims held at Sussex Police HQ with the Chief Constable, his senior officers and a large number of the new recruits. It was a powerful moment where we all recognised those affected by this heinous attack and took a stand against terrorism and hate crime of any kind.”

Assistant Chief Constable Nick May, the Faith and Belief Equality lead for the Force comments:

“Sussex Police works hard each and every day to engage with our diverse communities across the county. We are engaged with a number of Interfaith Networks and our Prevention Teams have strong local contacts. All of our latest recruits have visited Muslim and other faith places of worship in the last few weeks. We are always open to proposals about how we can engage better with faith and non-faith communities and recognise there is always more work to do.”

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