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October 2, 2012

Reaching the parts that others can’t reach: bringing local communities and the police together

From: This is Gloucestershire - Oct 2, 2012

A local charity is helping commissioners reach communities that they haven't previously been able to reach and give people a voice. The Gloucestershire Association for Voluntary and Community Action (GAVCA) has been making sure that communities whose voice is seldom heard get a chance to air their views on the role of the police and the soon-to-be-elected Police and Crime Commissioner.

Through its network of member organisations, people including refugees and asylum seekers, people with sensory or learning disabilities, ex-offenders, minority ethnic communities and young people took part in focus groups in which they shared some difficult experiences they had had with the Police, but also offered constructive solutions to tackle the problems they had faced.

Samantha Gibbs from the Gloucestershire Police Authority, said "The Police Authority was interested in getting the views of hard to hear groups within Gloucestershire on policing in their communities and was unsure how to go about reaching these groups. GAVCA's input in identifying groups within the community and getting those groups of people on board with this research was invaluable, and the excellent information provided will be used to inform the incoming Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire on the thoughts and feelings of some of the harder to reach groups within the County."

Jenny Hopkins from the Gloucestershire Deaf Association said

"Gloucestershire Deaf Association (GDA) was delighted to participate in this Police Consultation, organised by GAVCA. Local PCSOs have always made an effort in engaging with our community, but at the same time this provided an opportunity to raise concerns such as the importance of knowing how to recognise when someone is Deaf and how to assist communication with a Deaf British Sign Language user."

As a result of these initial focus groups the Constabulary have also started to develop stronger working relationships with them to take forward some of the suggestions raised.

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