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Policing, Culture and Community
Professor Jackie Hodgson and Dr Rachel Lewis have been awarded £30,000 to work with West Midlands Police (WMP) to translate the findings from their research on police community engagement through arts and culture, into changes in police training, policy and strategy.
Since summer 2021, Professor Jackie Hodgson and Dr Rachel Lewis have been conducting a multi-methods study examining the innovative partnership between WMP and the Coventry City of Culture Trust. It explores the potential for police partnerships around arts and culture to have an impact on police-community relations, and in particular, to increase public trust and confidence in the police, an issue of real importance in the context of a broader national crisis of policing legitimacy.
The research study examined how WMP worked with the Trust and different organisations to build community relationships around arts-based initiatives. The ambition was for WMP to use the opportunity presented by Coventry City of Culture to engage with more marginalised, vulnerable or seldom heard communities, where trust in policing is low. Based on over 100 interviews and focus groups, the research evaluates the benefits and challenges afforded by the WMP-Trust partnership, and considers the broader implications of police-community engagement through arts and culture.
This new funding will allow the researchers to work with WMP and the Belgrade Theatre to develop creative material based on the research findings and the accounts of research participants. This will result in a creative piece drawing on the principles of legislative theatre, co-produced by different stakeholders – police, researchers and young people. They also plan to use the findings to develop an empathetic story-telling initiative that can be incorporated into police training and be taken into schools.
The final Report “Policing Culture and Community: West Midlands Police as City of Culture Partners” will be published in December. A separate piece will also appear as part of the Future Trends series in the AHRC-funded Warwick UK Cities of Culture Project.