One of the biggest challenges police face in Boston is getting messages out to the migrant community and encouraging them to report crime, say police chiefs.
“We do quite a lot of work to ensure victims are heard and that crimes are recorded,” said Chief Insp Timmins. “And getting the message out to the migrant community that we are here to help is very much a challenge.”
He said part of their aim is to give them the confidence to come to police for help.
“There are issues with the police in their own countries - in that there is a lack of trust in them,” he said. “That’s why we are trying to talk to them more and get them to open up to us.”
The situation has been helped greatly he said by an new initiative set up at the station last year by Sgt Gary Joynes.
“We’ve got five volunteers from the migrant community working up to 20 hours a week at the station to help translate for others,” explained Chief Insp Timmins. “We do have a phone translation service, but it’s much better for people, particularly victims, to deal with people face-to-face. Many of our police cadets now come from migrant families in the area too, which really shows how the force is starting to better reflect the demographics of the community it serves.”
He said the volunteers are also ‘pro-active’ in their own communities in letting others know about important issues.
The police team is now encouraging others to volunteer as police special constables.
“We’ve got no specials from the migrant community yet - but they really could make a significant impact here,” Chief Insp Timmins said.
Chief Supt Wood added: “If people don’t report things to us, we can’t deal with them.
“We need to encourage them to come forward and to break down these barriers.”