Simon Phillips, Community Engagement Officer, West Yorkshire Police
How do we Measure & Record Community Engagement?
• Concept of transformational vs transactional leadership can be applied to policing – we need to move away from transactional culture of policing and policing training into a transformational style, focusing on interpersonal skills.
• What the public are saying – this should be based on measures or metrics formulated by the community – the number of knocking on doors, how many hours spent on the beat, or how many resident groups have been set up. GMP have a 10 week training programme, led by the community, which can feed into this.
• In GMP, calling cards/contract cards are handed out, which are completed by the community. GMP also survey around 80000 victims of crime per year, but also monitor complaints.
• How do we know something worked? Where can we find out that something worked?
• What is the activity (is it best practice? Is it what the community want) and what is the output from this?
• GMP train PCSOs on communication skills, and around 100 have been trained to date. This aims at rapport-building, saying no positively, and the power of language. “Be yourself”.
• Every 5 weeks, the front-line have a training day and have to listen to how they dealt with young people – young people themselves tell officers directly.
• Increasing confidence can lead to increased reporting initially as much as reduce demand in the longer-term. Colin, a PC who has done much to build links in the Cheetham Hill area of GMP, explained that there was a 27% reduction in crime from the year he didn’t engage to the year after he engaged.
• Working with May, a local member of the community, who “hated” the police previously, there has been an increase in Third Party Reporting Centres from 4 to 11. This was the result of education programmes led by the community to make the community aware of hate crime. May also gave an example of how the increased contact between community members meant that 2 families who were both doing work to educate the community on domestic violence were put in touch with one another.
• Colin’s view is that “You’ve got to go and see it”. Kids on local estates now wave at their local officers. Sir Peter Fahy previously visited and was met with shouting and distrust, but is now welcomed. If you say to a beat officer “Show me your beat” and they can’t, they’re not succeeding.
• In GMP, only 1 day in 8 weeks is spent on community engagement, which is why the 10 week course is so valuable.
• Colin also gave the example of officers conducting role plays in Piccadilly Gardens rather than Sedgeley Park. This meant that members of the public came up to them to ask what they were doing.
• There is a need to go back to old-style policing – now there can be an inconsistency in how one officer deals with a crime to another officer.
• A lot of guidance is encapsulated in GMP’s “Enhancing the Customer Experience: A Practical Guide”. Also see http://futurevisiontraining.co.uk/case-studies/greater-manchester-police-transforming-customer-service-and-communication-in-policing/
• Don’t criminalise the kids – Colin gave an example of visiting a care home and not logging a crime unless absolutely necessary. They are in a care home for a reason of vulnerability. He would usually deal with the case through restorative justice.
• GMP have the Volunteer Police Cadets, but May would like to have something similar for 9-12 year olds “little bobbies”. It is so important to build links with schools at an early age. Cleveland Fire Service have an embedded firefighter. There is the argument that PCSOs should be in schools and Safer Schools Officer PCs should be on the streets.
• Colin and May gave the example of Christmas hampers being distributed by local officers and the Senior Leadership Team on Christmas Day. Feedback was extremely positive. Some people were crying! On one occasion, Sir Peter Fahy took part in a fashion show, dressed in a ‘onesie’!
• GMP work with an organisation called ‘Engage’, who work with young people. They bring a 40ft trailer each week to local estates.