Northamptonshire Police launches first interfaith association
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Northamptonshire Police this week, launched its first interfaith association, bringing together in one association, people of different faiths among officers and staff as well as members of the community.
The event, which took place earlier this week, was attended by people from across the police and community.
Sophia Perveen, Chair of the Northamptonshire Association of Muslim Police, who set up the association, said: “My motivation for setting this up was to promote greater religious tolerance between different faith groups. I want to bring people together to create that dialogue, which will hopefully create better understanding and an awareness of the different faith groups.
“I strongly feel that by encompassing race and faith under one broad universal term, such as ethnic minority, causes confusion. For many people, like myself, my faith is of more importance than my race and it’s important that as an organisation we recognise that.
“According to the 2011 census data 68 per cent of the population identify with a faith. So, it makes perfect sense to build that bridge between people of different faiths within our organisation and our communities.”
Assistant Chief Constable Pauline Sturman, said: “We think we know everything, but we don’t have all the answers, so what’s really important, through the interfaith association and leading into what we deliver to the community, is that we share together to understand peoples lived experiences, people’s perceptions and their reality. Collectively we can strengthen what we deliver and be stronger together.”
Chief Superintendent Ash Tuckley, Head of Local Policing, speaking at the event, said: “We know that over time, our relationships with the communities have weakened, and we need to invest our time and efforts into redeveloping those bonds and building bridges with the communities again.
“We have a large and influential faith community in our county and what I can say is that whatever we do, it will always be with honourable intent. We may get it wrong, but we are doing it for the right reasons, and we want the communities to bear with us and help us get it right.”
Imam Sayfullah Nasir, a local faith leader who spoke at the launch, said: ” This initiative is the fruit of many months of efforts to create a better link between policing and faith - both of which have shared aims in ensuring peace and justice in society.
“An old church or cottage wall can stand for so many centuries despite the differences in brick shape - the right adaptation of cement to the contours of the stones is all that’s needed. Likewise, if we allow ourselves to bond well and work together, we too can stand tall and strong, our differences becoming our strong point.”