Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens visited St Paul’s to meet with residents and community organisations and listen to their thoughts and concerns about policing in their neighbourhood.
The PCC was joined by the local MP Thangam Debbonaire for a walkabout of the area on Friday October 16th and met with the local policing team, the board of the Malcolm X Centre, TALO Community Advice service and Cognitive Paths to hear their suggestions about the approach needed to tackle issues in their area.
Issues raised included the vulnerability of the children and young people in the area, how the elder community has been impacted by Covid19, the need for closer partner working with the community, stop and search disproportionality and how to report problems to the right agencies.
The need to build more trust between the police and the community, to give people the confidence to report things when they happen and the need to raise awareness of how to report crimes or antisocial behaviour anonymously was also highlighted.
During the meetings, several ways were identified in which the police and community organisations will strengthen the way they work together to help reassure local people and improve community safety.
“My meetings with the board from the Malcolm X Centre, TALO Community and Cognitive Paths were very insightful and informative.
“I want to thank everyone who took the time to talk to me about the important work that is going on to support our communities and discuss how they believe the police can help tackle some of the issues they are facing.
“It is clear that there are very strong groups of proactive local people in St Paul’s doing fantastic work to create community hubs and resources.PCC Sue Mountstevens
Sue added: “The local beat team are already forging good relationships and working hard to support local groups with crime prevention initiatives and problem solving.
“We at the OPCC, the police and our partner agencies need to ensure we are doing all we can to tie in with these organisations and support their work to help all our residents during the ongoing pandemic.”
“It was great to be out in St Paul’s to speak to the board of the Malcolm X Centre, the TALO Community Advice service, Cognitive Paths and Full Circle. The importance of community centres and dedicated groups have been highlighted during this time and it was great to hear about how the young people, elders and our local community are being supported and how vital these spaces are to us all.
“I look forward to continuing to work with these groups and the PCC to deal with some of the concerns that were raised and to support in strengthening our brilliant community organisations in Bristol West.”MP Thangam Debbonaire
Hibo Mahamoud, founder and manager of TALO Community, said: “It was good to welcome Sue Mountstevens in to our offices along with her team, MP Thangam Debbonaire and the local beat team led by Maz Collacott-Nuur
“We’ve had some frank discussions about what the landscape is in St Paul’s, especially for the young people who, in 2020, are still lacking sufficient and free recreational facilities. The link between this and ASB incidents are unfortunately easy to put together. However, having a beat team who are easy to reach and fast to act gives residents the trust that these issues are dealt with effectively.
“We also shared how we are committed to deliver a summer programme geared towards families and reinforce community spirit post lockdown. Community organisations based in the heart of the community also play an integral part in deterring crimes by finding creative ways to provide diversionary activity for young people, as illustrated in our summer programme.”
Del Hibbert, project development manager at Cognitive Paths, said: “The local Beat Team including Maz Collacott-Nuur and Tom Tooth have enabled us to help improve local outcomes and relationships between the Police and young people in the community. Both Sue Mountstevens & Thangam Debbonnaire have also been very supportive of our work and been consistent in identifying ways of improving relationships with local service providers in the area.”
“The meeting gave us the opportunity to express the concerns young people mention such as feeling over policed, frequently stopped and searched, suspected of being in gangs and peer-pressure due to lack of income and job prospects. We plan to address these issues by providing community-based projects that will help young people in the area with careers advice, guidance about education and training opportunities.”
Sibusiso Tshabalala, Director of Cognitive Paths added: “It was great to see people in leadership positions committing the time and effort to meet with local providers in these challenging times.”