The OPCC has adopted the approach that no person or group of people are hard to reach - it just depends on the approach that is taken.
Our Community Engagement Strategy emphasises the importance of exerting more effort and creativity in reaching these groups, and we are committed to ensuring that all members of the community are given the opportunity to take part in PCC engagement activities, and will ensure that, as far as practicable, any barriers to such engagement are removed.
For ease we have broken down our engagement activities under the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010. Staff from the OPCC attends the Dorset Police Equality and Confidence Board, and the Vulnerable People Board.
The OPCC recognises that older people represent the largest demographic group in Dorset. There are a number of organisations that represent older people’s issues within the county, and in order to have an OPCC presence at as many of these groups as possible, the PCC recruited a number of Older Peoples Community Engagement Volunteers who attend meetings on our behalf, and bring back relevant issues to the PCC.
We also work in partnership with statutory and voluntary partners to ensure that information is disseminated widely to older people, and take our information stand to many events that are aimed at the older community, as well as attending Dorset Age Partnership Meetings, and has been the guest speaker at a number of Older Peoples Forums and Lunch Clubs.
Children and Young People
The OPCC has developed a bespoke Children and Young Peoples Strategy, which details how we will engage with children and young people across the county.
The OPCC has worked with groups of young people to develop their own version of the Police and Crime Plan, which was presented for adoption at the Dorset Police Children and Young People Working Group in November 2014.
In partnership with Dorset Police the OPCC has developed a Young Peoples Consultation Group which meets three times a year and advises the police on issues affecting young people, and brings forward issues that they have been made aware of in their community.
We work closely with the statutory and voluntary partners across the county, and attend the Child Exploitation /Missing People Strategy Group, Dorset Participation Strategy Group, Poole Participation Group and the 0-19 Voluntary Sector Forum.
The PCC has met with Dorset’s Members of the UK Youth Parliament, the Dorset Youth Forum DYCE, and Westham Children’s Centre. Further visits to children and young people’s projects will take place during our community days, and we will be undertaking further consultation with young people over the coming year.
Young People were invited to take over the OPCC on Take It Over Day 2013, and their suggestion of holding a Youth Conference addressing young people’s safety came to fruition on the 2nd October 2014, when the OPCC hosted the My Life My Choice Youth Conference – see here for details.
The OPCC has secured funding from the Ministry of Justice to fund an £85,000 programme to support child victims of serious sexual offences, and £30,000 for special counselling for child witnesses of Domestic Abuse, which will include 1-1 creative therapeutic sessions for children
The OPCC ensures that public meetings are held in accessible venues, and has access to a portable hearing loop, and BSL Interpreter if this is requested for a meeting.
We have ensured that the Police and Crime Plan is available in a large print easy read version for adults with learning difficulties. The OPCC has held information stands at the Dorset Learning Disability Partnership Board Conferences in 2013 and 2014, and has recruited a number of learning disabled adults as Community Engagement Volunteers.
The OPCC also funds Access Dorset as our Disability Consultation Group, which meets three times a year. Information on Access Dorset can be found here: http://www.accessdorset.org.uk/
The OPCC is a member of the Dementia Action Alliance, and all staff have undertaken a Dementia Awareness Session.
Dorset’s PCC is the national lead PCC for mental health, and was instrumental in introducing the new street triage system to assist Police Officers attending incidents of people experiencing mental health crisis and secured £100,000 from the Ministry of Justice to fund two Mental Health Outreach Workers and a Mental Health Coordinator.
The OPCC holds a service level agreement with Dorset Race Equality Council, who facilitate the following consultation groups on our behalf:
- Black and Minority Consultation Group
- Gypsy and Traveller Consultation Group.
The OPCC has also recruited a specialist Polish Community Engagement Volunteer, and has a number of Community Engagement Volunteers from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.
OPCC staff attends the county wide Traveller and Gypsy Working Group, and have also met with Kushti Bok and the South West Dorset Multi Cultural Network.
The OPCC hold the contact details for a number of Trans groups in the area, who are invited to attend our public engagement events and to take part in consultations.
Religion and Belief
The OPCC has strived to contact faith and belief communities in Dorset, and include them in invitations to community meetings and to take part in consultation. We have had contact through our forums with members of the following faith and belief communities:
- Bournemouth Synagogue
- Dorset Humanists
The OPCC also funds Dorset Race Equality Council to facilitate the Muslim Contact Group.
The main focus of our work around this characteristic has been in the field of Domestic Violence, Street Sex Workers, and Human Trafficking. We also hold details of a number of women’s groups in the county that are invited to attend our public engagement events and to take part in consultations.
The OPCC has secured funding from the Ministry of Justice to deliver Freedom Courses to support victims of domestic abuse – this will include a pilot scheme offering freedom courses or pattern changing courses to male Domestic Abuse victims. The OPCC has also funded a Sex Worker Risk Assessment Case Manager in Bournemouth.
The OPCC co-hosted a Domestic Violence Conference ‘No Excuse for Abuse – From Cradle to Grave’ with Women’s Action Network Dorset on 27th November 2014.
The OPCC funds the Intercom Trust to facilitate an LGBT Consultation group three times a year, and had recently secured additional funding for specialist LGBT hate crime case workers across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Wiltshire. (The Dorset contribution will be £19,000 in financial year 2014/15).
The OPCC hold the contact details for a number of LGBT groups in the area, who are invited to attend our public engagement events and to take part in consultations.
We also support Pride Marches, and flew the rainbow flag above Police HQ on IDAHO day earlier this year.