Building a prejudice free community

By Superintendent Gavin Dudfield, Chair of Prejudice Free Dorset

All members of Prejudice Free Dorset have been asked to write a short blog regarding their roles, any projects they are working on or any current or non-recent issues that may be of interest to those who visit this site.  I have decided to simply write about how I have become involved with PFD and how I will work with the large network of volunteers to help make Dorset prejudice free. 

By way of introduction, I am a Superintendent at Dorset Police. I am responsible for Neighbourhood Policing across Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch. I am also the force lead for tackling hate crime, which has led me to become a member of PFD.

The police have chaired PFD for some years and I was selected to become the temporary Chair in September 2019 and elected as the full-time Chair around Christmas 2019. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was committing myself to or whether I’d have the skills to lead this important area of work. Luckily, I am surrounded by such passionate individuals who are dedicated to creating a fair and just society, who have either lived experiences or a wealth of experience working in the areas of legitimacy, diversity and equality.

My first outing at a public conference was the #NoPlaceForHate conference where members of PFD put on a brilliant event with excellent performers and guest speakers. The guest speakers and Q&A panel provided clear insight surrounding their experiences suffering prejudice and hate crimes. For me it was the perfect start to the role as it was clear that there was so much energy and support to make Dorset a place where everyone can feel safe.

Prejudice Free Dorset’s inaugural ‘No Place for Hate’ conference in 2019

I listened to the feedback from the conference and I reviewed the results of some analysis completed by Bournemouth University regarding community issues that needed attention. As Chair, I decided to use these findings to set up a number of projects, which are all being led and worked on by members of PFD. These include…

  • further conferences and bespoke learning events for organisations that have requested PFD support,
  • working with private businesses to develop prejudice free organisations and safe places,
  • working with the Night Time Economy to ensure everyone that visits our towns on nights out can feel safe, whether they are socialising or working,
  • and developing education packages to address prejudice and hate at an early age.

In the future, I wish to develop a wider connection with all of our communities in Dorset so that the Police and any other agency can benefit from hearing lived experiences and can take advice on day-to-day issues or broader issues that are affecting our society. If anyone wishes to become involved and wishes to represent their community, please have a look at the PFD’s various member organisations and make contact with the agency that you feel comfortable with.

A great starting point will always be Dorset Race Equality Council for any information or advice. PFD, itself, is not an organisation, it is a group of passionate and dedicated people working together to ensure all services are accessible to everyone. We are happy to have uncomfortable conversations and develop solutions to issues in order to make positive change, but we will need to do this with you.

To conclude I wish to highlight the lengths Dorset Police are going to, in order to investigate and deal with hate crime. We have dedicated ‘champions’ who have had extra training so that they can best support victims of crime, and help deliver an outcome that supports the victim’s views.

We also have a considerable amount of supervisors who are accountable for the investigations. We want to hear about any crimes or incidents and we want to do all we can to protect victims of crime and bring offenders to justice. As a police force, we really do want to do the right thing but I am aware that we don’t always get it right and there may be some people or communities that do not trust the police as a result.

We, the police, are members of the public who put on a uniform, and try and keep law and order.  We want to ensure that we represent all communities that we serve and I would encourage anyone who has a desire to join the Police to review the Positive Action recruitment campaign.

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