Dealing with Violence conference
On 31 January the Institute of Global Policing, UCL, the Metropolitan Police and MOPAC hosted a very insightful conference on an evidence-based approach to dealing with violence. The event reinforced the importance of taking a public health approach drawing on evidence on the impact of the environment, people’s childhood experiences and relationships with public sector bodies particularly the police on violence.
The conference was opened by Sadiq Khan and Lib Peck. Commander Jane Connors set the scene of violence in London.
Research contributors from South America, the US and the UK covered three key themes; community spaces and the role of place and space in enabling violence which underlined the importance of understanding the social and physical space within which violence occurs, drawing on experiences particularly in South America; Childhood Experiences and in particular the use of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) as a framework to understand negative adolescent and early adult outcomes - the session started with a fascinating exploration of the links between victimisation, violence fantasies and cycles of violence alongside an overview of the use and misuse of ACES in practice and the effect of parenting styles; the final session focused on the role of trust as central to all social relations; including between the police and public – and that low trust is significant in trying to address violence.
The session looked at how trust in police is formed (and undermined) and what types of police activity are best placed to enhance trust in the police drawing for example on evidence of procedural justice, and its contribution to violence reduction.
The agenda allowed for each theme to be discussed on multi-disciplinary tables and three practical ideas of what could be taken forward as a result of the evidence were presented back. Examples included a need to focus at a very local neighbourhood level with communities at the heart of any activity; for racism to be considered as an Adverse Childhood Experience, for all agencies to adopt a trauma-informed approach within their work; ensure trauma support is provided to the police; and all public sector organisations need to consider their role to build trust across all organisations including the police.