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Cross-border conference examines community policing

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Civic leaders, voluntary groups and law and justice agencies from both sides of the border came together at a major event today to examine how better partnerships can be created between communities and police.

 

Organised by the International Fund for Ireland, the Community Policing Cluster event explored how communities, An Garda Síochána and PSNI are building trust and addressing sensitive legacy issues. The cross-border conference included a discussion on policing approaches and tackled issues relating to engagement with young people; fostering a lawful society; and models of transitional justice.

Dr Adrian Johnston, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, said:
“It is no exaggeration to say the relationships between communities and policing bodies profoundly affect social progress. They shape our impression of individual and community safety and our willingness to move forward and take risks for peace.

“Policing and justice remain among the most complicated and challenging social issues. We know in some areas there remains a trust deficit between communities and policing bodies and great care will be needed to introduce progressive initiatives. But we must always presume that change can be made and for that to happen the cooperation and support of local communities will be critical.”

He added:
“Positive partnerships mean better police services and ultimately safer communities. This conference looks at the types of relationships that work best in specific areas and asks how better engagement can occur elsewhere.”

The Community Policing Cluster event took place at Crumlin Road Gaol and included a performance of Green & Blue, a drama that explores the painful and humorous realities faced by the individuals who patrolled the border during the height of the conflict. Based on an oral archive of serving RUC and An Garda Síochána officers, and performed by Kabosh, it fuses theatre and film to look at the person behind the uniform and the different experiences of two individuals on either side of a line in the ground.