Church leaders praise force’s openness during eye-opening visit
Prominent church leaders gained a first-hand insight into how Nottinghamshire Police officers are trained in the use of force and stop and search techniques.
Members of the Majority Black Led Churches (MBLC) observed a training session for new recruits and more experienced officers and learned more about policing tactics during their visit to joint force headquarters.
They found out about the specialist training officers receive on how to use proportionate force when patrolling our streets.
Chief Superintendent Suk Verma, Nottinghamshire Police’s Head of Local Policing, said: “Proactive community engagement events like this one are vital in our journey to increase trust and confidence in police and build positive relationships with our communities
“Church leaders are incredibly important and influential people. By being open and transparent about the way officers are trained we hope to continue and enhance our honest dialogue with them.
“We know these are areas where we have made real progress, however we are always seeking to improve and learn from others and we welcome feedback from the church leaders about what they saw and heard – both good and bad.
“We want to positively engage with the communities we serve and this is another important step along that journey.”
During Tuesday’s (14 March 2023) event, around 30 officers were put through their paces and learnt about the correct tactics to use when carrying out a stop and search, applying handcuffs and detaining a suspect.
Chief Supt Verma said: “Our highly-trained officers are entrusted with the power to use force to carry out their duties in protecting both the public and themselves from danger.
“Force is used only if it is absolutely necessary, reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances.
“Any use of force is recorded and scrutinised to ensure it has been used correctly.”
Pastor Clive Foster, Senior Minister at the Pilgrim Church, said: “It was good to see the officers in training and being upskilled in what they have already learnt.
“Police must continue to show leadership and an understanding that in our diverse communities people from different backgrounds will behave differently. With strong and fair leadership, as well as a willingness to learn from partners, the police can improve trust and confidence, and we are happy to help with that process.
“We have been working hard with the force on the National Police Race Action Plan. The police being open to meet with church leaders and invite us to this training session is really positive and an important part of our ongoing dialogue.”
The visit is another important part of the force’s implementation of the action plan.
It was published as a draft in May 2022 and followed by a public survey in which members of the public, officers and staff shared their thoughts.
The survey - one of the biggest of its kind in policing – received more than 5,000 responses, of which 10 per cent were from Black or Black British or mixed Black heritage respondents.
All feedback will now be considered to identify the action needed to develop the plan further and inform its implementation. The final version will be published later this year.