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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

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Crawley housing development named after local soldier

A new housing development in the town centre has been named after a Crawley soldier who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2009.

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The Family of John Brackpool

The site of the former Kilnmead Car Park site, has been named John Brackpool Close in honour of Private John Brackpool. The development is home to 32 flats and five houses. The block of flats, has been named John Brackpool Court.

The family of Pte Brackpool, Council officers and members of the 4th Battalion, Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, gathered together for an unveiling ceremony, which included readings from the Regiment’s Padre, poems and prayers.

The commemorative plaque was unveiled by Pte Brackpool’s mother, Carol, while young family members laid a remembrance wreath.

Pte John Brackpool was born in Crawley on 11 July 1981. He joined the Army and served with The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, during which time he deployed on operations to Kosovo and Iraq. He had left the Regular Army, but volunteered to serve with 1st Battalion Welsh Guards for a six-month operational tour to Afghanistan. He was killed on 9 July 2009 while on operations near Char-e-Anjir, just outside Lashkar Gah, in Helmand province, two days before his 28th birthday.

Speaking at the event, Cabinet member for Housing, Councillor Ian Irvine, said:

“On behalf of the council I am delighted we have been able to honour the memory of Private Blackpool with the naming of this new development. This is a fitting tribute recognising his bravery and sacrifice and our thanks go out to his family for working with us, the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment for putting together this special event and W Stirland for providing the plaque.”

Continuing this, Carol Brackpool said:

“I would like to thank the council and 4PWRR for making the day special. It was a sad but also very proud day. It’s lovely that John will be remembered.” Council developer partner, W. Stirland is developing the affordable rented housing, which are due to be completed by the end of October.

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