Police professional | SPA strengthens police engagement with “rarely heard” groups

SPA strengthens police engagement with “rarely heard” groups

The Scottish Police Authority (SPA) is working with Police Scotland and the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR) to fund a series of projects aimed at improving engagement with ‘rarely heard’ communities.

Sep 3, 2021

By Paul Jacques

The rarely heard term refers to communities that are historically under-represented and may be less likely to engage with the police for a variety of reasons, including race, religion, sexuality, disability and age, as well as communities isolated by geography or economic disadvantage.

Fifteen applications were received and reviewed by a panel representing SIPR, SPA and Police Scotland. Five received a share of £ 62,000 to support innovation and learning, maintaining and focusing on policing in the public interest.

SPA said the projects were selected for “the relevance of their focus, innovative approaches and robust methodologies”.

Prizes were awarded to:

Dr John Mendel (University of Dundee) who will lead the project “Inquiring together: Collaborative Research with BAME (black, Asian and minor ethnic ethnic) Communities and Servicing Officers”, which aims to help police officers engage with refugees, migrants and those from BAME communities in Dundee, Glasgow and Aberdeenshire to support the development of policing guidelines;

Dr Andrew Williams (St Andrew’s University) as principal investigator of the research project “Be Seen and Heard: Developing Photovoice as a Method for Police to Engage with Youth in Underserved Communities”, which aims to use creative methods of involving young people in an economically disadvantaged area to understand the places and people that matter to them;

Dr Julie Berg (University of Glasgow) who will lead the project “Accounting for Complexities: An Intersectional Approach to Enhancing Police Practitioner Accountability, Legitimacy and Sustainable Reform”, which aims to develop a toolbox of cross-sectoral good practice through which Police Scotland can better engage with seldom heard communities;

Professor Jim Moir (University of Abertay) who will lead the project “Hearing Rarely Heard Groups: Police Empathically in Conversation with LGBT People and Youth from Disadvantaged Backgrounds”, which will explore the experiences of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, and will also examine the extent to which empathy and understanding of different rarely heard voices is apparent in Police Scotland; and

Dr Nicole Vidal (Queen Margaret University) as Principal Investigator for ‘Refugee and asylum-seeker experiences, trust and confidence with Police Scotland’, which aims to better understand the quantity and quality of refugee social networks and their role in the influence of engagement with the police.

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