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Date(s) - Tuesday, Sep 22
10:30 am - 12:00 pm


About this Event

Our 2020 webinar series, ‘Racial Justice in the Criminal Justice System: What Can Your Church Do?’ seeks to help churches think through these issues and identify specific, practical interventions that will make a difference in their communities.

The killing of George Floyd and the protests that arose from it highlighted yet again the tragic overrepresentation of black and minority ethnic people in the criminal justice system. Global media outlets highlighted some of the disparities — including the facts that black people are more likely to be stopped and searched, more likely to be arrested and more likely to receive prison sentences for the same offences than white people — and told just a handful of the stories of the everyday racism that BME people face, with others shared on social media and no doubt in personal conversations between friends.

But actually, sadly, none of this should be news. In academic circles, criminologists and sociologists have pointed to the challenges for decades, whilst policymakers have explored them in a series of reports, action plans and strategies. One of the best known of these is the 2017 ‘Lammy Review’, the independent review into the treatment of, and outcomes for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals in the criminal justice system chaired by Labour MP (and now Shadow Justice Secretary) David Lammy. The Lammy Review highlighted a series of systemic failings and made some important recommendations for government and wider civil society, many of which still wait to be fully implemented.

Delivering change in such areas is not something governments can do alone. It requires commitment and collaboration across a wide variety of sectors, including from faith communities. The Free Churches Group, the national body representing the UK’s independent, ‘nonconformist’ and free churches, has worked with the Cadbury Centre to develop a straightforward strategy to help churches implement relevant insights from the Lammy Review into their own communities and congregations. Our ‘ChangingTACK’ model encourages churches to help build Trust, Accountability, Community and Knowledge to confront the very real disparities BME communities face in the criminal justice system and to play their part in working for racial justice in all areas of public life and private experience.

Our first webinar, Thursday 23 July from 2.00-3.15pm, focusses on ‘Building Trust’, asking how the churches can build and reinforce trusting relationships with the communities they serve, with criminal justice bodies, the Police and the local Police and Crime Commissioner, and with individual young people who might otherwise be at risk of falling into trouble. We’ll discuss:

– How can churches help the police generally engage better with people of colour within the communities that they serve throughout England and Wales, and how might they address some of the perceived mistrust of some aspects of policing practice?

– What can faith communities do to engender trust in the criminal justice system? What social and systemic changes are needed for people of colour to feel able to trust the criminal justice system more? How can we build trust in place of fear and apparent hostility?

– What can churches do to engender trust in the criminal justice system amongst people in their congregations?

We’re delighted to have a great panel of speakers for this event.

Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin was appointed Bishop of Dover in 2019, the first Black woman to be made a bishop in the Church of England, after nearly 10 years as Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons. She was one of the first women to be ordained priest in the Church of England in 1994 and has extensive experience in parish ministry and in public life.

DCC Vanessa Jardine is Deputy Chief Constable of West Midlands Police.

Paul Rochester is the General Secretary of the Free Churches Group. The Free Churches Group comprises twenty-four denominations. As General Secretary, he serves both the Directors and Group members, providing oversight of the organisation and its work programme. FCG, amongst other things, has a public profile through Free Church chaplains in the Healthcare and Prisons sectors and the Free Church voice in Education and the public square. Paul has been an ordained minister in the Church of God of Prophecy (CoGoP) for over 30 years. He currently pastors a CoGoP church in South London as well as providing oversight for eight churches as the Regional Bishop. Paul worked in the Civil Service for 34 years and was awarded the MBE in 2016 for work on small scale renewables and community work.

To join us for this online event please register here on EventBrite. You will be sent the link for the Webinar (which will be held on Zoom) at least 24 hours before the event. Please note only the event chair and participants will be shown on screen but you will be able to type comments and questions into the chat function and the chair will select some of these to put to the panel.


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