PB Scotland recently helped promote 'Shared Vision - Your Decision', an Edinburgh based initiative enabling local people to decide how public money is spent in eradicating Islamophobia and associated prejudice behaviour. Sergeant Scott Kennedy of Police Scotland has provided the following blog to update on progress so far.
Following international terrorist atrocities such as those experienced in Paris/Brussels, Police Scotland carried out some focused engagement with the city's Muslim community.
During this engagement one particular Muslim Women’s association advised they were experiencing an increase in the severity and frequency of hate related crimes/incidents.
It was reported that the fear of hate crime was such that women no longer ventured out of their home after dark and if they did, they certainly did not and would not go out alone or with their children. We were acutely aware that under reporting of hate crime was also a serious issue.
Police Scotland declared a critical incident and as a response contributed 5k to deliver a PB process aimed at tackling Islamophobic behaviour and the issue of under reporting. A further £13k was obtained through funding requests to the City of Edinburgh Council, and 20k match funding thereafter secured through a joint bid to the Community Choices fund.
Multi-faith steering group established with reps from Muslim, Sikh and Hindu community, and Shared Vision Your Decision was initiated.
50 applicant projects were received, showing the desire across the city to tackle this issue. These included bringing our communities together through sport/food/music, educational and awareness raising initiatives, integration work with refuges, and working with hate crime offenders.
34 projects progressed to public vote. The voting period opened with a marketplace event which was well received and provided great networking opportunities. BBC Scotland attended and the event made the national news bulletin that evening.
The voting event was accompanied by two weeks of voting in local Libraries and also online.
2553 votes were received (Event – 140, libraries – 585, Online – 1786, Other – 42)
We are now working together with those who have obtained funding as will as those who have not in order to ensure the most effective service delivery and promote collaborative working across all sectors as much as possible.
The project which received the most votes was ‘Kids in the Street - One Team, Many Cultures, One Goal - Raises awareness of the true meaning of faith through football, fun, food & learning’. I feel this is evidence of the need to tackle prejudice behaviour at a very young age.
- It was vital that we had multi-faith community reps on steering group, particularly for a thematic topic such as this. This ensured we were accesibile to all groups at all times, and was clearly a factor in ensuring we recived so many bids from across all communities.
There was clear evidence that the process of PB is as important as the allocation of the funds as many strong relationships developed both with steering group members and also numerous other organisations who applied for the funding. Some of these organisations were unknown to us prior to this initiative.
The impact on hate crime itself is as yet unknown and will be difficult to measure as we are trying to prevent the incidents taking place. However, we are also encouraging additional reporting.
Sergeant Scott Kennedy
Prevention, Interventions & Partnerships
'E' Division - City of Edinburgh