Working with and Understanding our Population
"Understanding our growing and changing population is an increasing challenge during times of austerity and the Police now have the added pressure of having to do more with less.
We have a very diverse population with over 60 languages spoken in Gwent alone across communities of varying sizes. Each community has a variety of needs and both my office and Gwent Police are working hard to address issues between communities and the impact of negative perceptions surrounding some of them. With a rise in reported incidents of Islamophobia nationally and with news of racism in sport never too far away from the front pages of our newspapers or our TV screens, it's obvious that more needs to be done to tackle racial inequality and Hate Crime and promote more cohesive communities and a tolerant society.
It takes a lot of time to establish trust with some of our communities and that's why Police Officers in Newport have been successfully running activities that encourage cross-cultural social involvement over the last two years. They have held bespoke police surgeries for a range of communities with a specific focus on cultural issues. They provide vital information where people can access help and support.
Taking this further, I look forward to working with Race Council Cymru in the near future in what will be a most valuable piece of work around identifying and engaging with some of our least involved communities in the Gwent valleys. We are also working with other external organisations to help address issues of racism in society. For example, I have provided funding to Show Racism the Red Card to support their work within Gwent around tackling racism and promoting equality through sport. My Partnership Fund has also provided funding to smaller scale projects that encourage community cohesion, like the 'Never Never Club' in Torfaen and the Migrant, Asylum Seeker & Refugee Support Service (MARS).
In April, Gwent will see the opening of Connect Gwent, the new independent, multi-agency support service for victims of crime. In building the support available to all victims through this 'hub', I am pleased that the Home Office funded Victim Support Hate Crime Caseworker for Gwent will be an integral part of this provision. This is an important step forward in our commitment to supporting local victims of Hate Crime and we hope that as a result of launching Connect Gwent, more people will be encouraged to report their experiences."