Police create role to build trust with migrant communities

PC Emma Carlin, new police officer just for integration.
PC Emma Carlin, new police officer just for integration.

A newly-created police role will engage with migrant communities in Boston in a bid to build trust.

PC Emma Carlin’s position as the community beat manager specifically for migrant communities will involve visiting shops, factories and residents to advise, educate and break down barriers between police, migrants and other members of the community.

The Boston Standard front page, April 20, 2016

The Boston Standard front page, April 20, 2016

PC Carlin says many migrant communities are distrustful or afraid of police because of experiences in their own countries. To combat this, much of her work will be done in plain clothes.

Of the challenge ahead, she said: “From feedback so far, it does seem like quite a few people from migrant communities seem to be afraid of police and talking to the police.”

“Because of this perception from themselves and their community, people don’t like to be seen helping the police or getting involved.

“If you do have problems with crime in the community that people don’t feel they can report it’s an issue – we want people to feel confident we can help them.”

She added: “We have a lot of English-organised events going on in Boston and we want to get people working together and involved in these and other events.

“We’re looking to get everyone together so people can talk to each other and break down a few barriers.”

Lincolnshire Police insist the role is not a knee-jerk reaction to any specific incident or incidents, pointing to the fact similar roles already exist in other areas of the UK.

PC Carlin’s role will include working with volunteers – including, so far, a Police Community Support Officer and two interpreters who speak Lithuanian, Polish and Russian.

She said: “A lot of the first few months will be finding out what their issues are, rather than thinking we know what they are.”

“At the moment, we might think we know what the issues are, but we are speaking to the people and finding out what they know.”

PC Carlin, 34, who is originally from Nottingham, is half-Polish herself and speaks a little of the language, but wants to become fluent, along with learning other languages such as Russian.

She has been a police officer for 10 years, working in Bourne then Stamford and Spalding as a Detective Constable.

She is currently helping police to revamping a ‘newcomers’ booklet’ to include better and up-to-date information so that they can educated people about the country’s laws and how the police operate here.

It will include the law’s stance on domestic violence, street drinking, drink-drive laws and laws surrounding looking after children as well as information on things like the PSPO.

As part of her work she will also engage with local charities to look at migrants who come here for work and, unfortunately, find themselves jobless – leading to drink problems and/or homelessness.

She said “Sometimes people do actually want to go back home.”

PC Carlin will also be looking to spread police messages and alerts via foreign media and social network sites.

They will also visit local churches and hold surgeries as well as making more use of social media to reach out to people in migrant communities.

She said: “We want to put updates and alerts on there and try to get more information. We also want to engage with events that are going on in the migrant community.”

PC Carlin is available for anyone from the migrant community or volunteers who want to help to get in touch. She works Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9.30am-4.30pm.

l To contact her. email emma.carlin@lincs.pnn.police.uk.