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Trainee officers visit Crawley to gain insight into faith communities

Greater knowledge and understanding of all the communities the force serves enables officers to more effectively engage and serve the people of Sussex.

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Sussex police trainees visited the Sikh Gudwara (top left), the Crawley Islamic Masjid (top right) and the the Apple Tree Hindu Temple (bottom)

That’s why Multi-faith Day has become a regular part of police officer training, giving new recruits an opportunity to gain a greater insight into various faiths and cultures

More than 70 trainee police constables visited the Apple Tree Hindu temple, the Sikh Gudwara and the Islamic Centre & Masjid in Crawley last week where they met community members and found out more about their religions and ways of life.

Trainee PC Matt Seekings, who will join the Brighton and Hove policing team in November, said:

“It was a really enjoyable day and a great opportunity to meet with people of various religions and cultures and ask questions in a safe respectful learning environment.

“We found out how we can best serve and engage people of their faith and carry out our duty with maximum respect and minimum disruption. For example, if we were dealing with a sudden death or delivering the death message.”

“We as the police are here to serve the public interest and we can only do that effectively if we know, understand and respect the differences and diversity of our communities.”

As part of the cultural experience, the 72 trainees and their trainers also took part in meals – and in some cases, rolled up their sleeves and helped wash the dishes.

“We were really touched that volunteers at the Sikh Gudwara had got up early and cooked a meal for a group of 80,” said Matt. “So we wanted to pay them back by helping out with the dishes.”

Bharat Lukka of the Apple Tree Centre said:

“The Hindu community was pleased to welcome the trainee officers and help them build an understanding about Hindu culture and the community here in Crawley. It’s reassuring to know that these trainees are there to help and engage with our communities.”

Shahid Zaman, Education Secretary of the Crawley Islamic Centre & Masjid, said:

“It was a pleasure to host the officers. We look forward to continuing to organise similar events in the future.”

Davinder Kaur Ghundale of the Siri Guru Singh Sabha Sikh Gudawara, added,

“If this has made a difference to at least one officer and their interactions with the Sikh community, then it is a job well done.”

Chief Superintendent Jayne Dando, Race Equality Champion said:

“Sussex Police works hard each and every day to engage with our diverse communities. We liaise with a number of Interfaith Networks and our Prevention Teams have strong local contacts.

“Offering this Multi faith day as part of training is just one of the ways we enhance and ensure our officers understanding of the communities they serve across the county. It also enables us to understand community concerns and build strong relationships.”               

The 72 trainee officers will join their policing teams across the county in early November.

Interested in joining Sussex as a police officer? They are currently recruiting for new PCs. Deadline is 19th September. Apply on Sussex Police website

Community

Grant ensures two Crawley playgrounds can remain open

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Crawley Borough Council has announced that two of its adventure playgrounds will remain open for supervised play this year following a one-off grant from the government.

The government has given every local authority a Lower Tier Services Grant so the council has decided to use this to keep Cherry Lane and Millpond adventure playgrounds open as supervised, open access play sites until the end of October half-term 2021 (subject to Covid-19 restrictions).

Millpond and Cherry Lane will operate with an online registration and booking system to create a Covid-secure environment and ensure that the adventure playgrounds are being used by Crawley children.

However, this grant is for one year only so after October, Cherry Lane Adventure Playground will move to unsupervised play.

After October half-term, Millpond Adventure Playground in Bewbush will close permanently. Creasys Drive Adventure Playground in Broadfield is already closed and will not reopen. The council will be bringing forward new unsupervised play facilities in Broadfield and Bewbush in due course.

Waterlea Adventure Playground will be refurbished and then reopen as an unsupervised play site in 2022.

The council will also bring in its new model of outreach play, which will look to move play activities into neighbourhoods and increase participation. This model will also:

  • Increase the range of play opportunities for children away from more traditional building-based activities
  • Reach groups that may not usually access services
  • Make use of buildings across the town and work in partnership with other existing groups and organisations.

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of the Council, said:

“While the long-term impact of Covid-19 on council funding means adventure playgrounds will have to move to unsupervised play by 2022, I’m glad that this one-off funding means we can continue to provide supervised play until next winter, as we roll out our new outreach model.”

Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of the Opposition, said:

“I welcome this additional government funding that has enabled us to extend supervised play at two adventure playgrounds for this year, while we also work to refurbish Waterlea for unsupervised play for next year.”

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