I am Helen, a Chief Inspector in West Midlands Police based in Coventry and the policing lead for City of Culture.
I have worked in Coventry for several years now and have a real love of the city and a deep desire to help make it the best it can be. Coventry has SO much to offer and when the chance to work on City of Culture came about, I jumped at the chance! I wanted to be involved in something special that could really bring Coventry into the spotlight, showcase what make it a great place to be and shine a light on its amazing people.
From a policing point of view, we are involved in City of Culture for a number of reasons, but all link back to making a safer city for all who live, work and visit here. City of Culture presents a unique opportunity for Coventry and as the local police, we want to make the most of it. We want to immerse ourselves in all aspects of the year, along with partners and communities across the city, and be part of something that helps create genuine change in Coventry.
The more obvious side of our work is working with the Trust, the City Council and partners to ensure the city is ready for its title year. Safety and security are clearly a significant part of this, so we need to plan for the many and varied things that will take place during the year, including major events that will need a police presence. We need to ensure that events are safe and that people attending are kept safe. Another side of our involvement is working with the Trust and the arts and cultural sector, seeing where we can work together to reduce crime and keep people safer. This includes really worrying areas such as violence involving our young people, which is a big priority for us. I have not been involved in working so closely with the arts and cultural sector before and I am starting to understand what an important part the sector can play in reducing crime and protecting people.
We also want to use the opportunities City of Culture presents to build stronger relationship with communities in Coventry. We need to get to a position where we better understand the issues people face every day and can act more quickly to tackle and resolve the issues raised. We know we need do more work to earn the trust of communities and this starts with listening to, and learning from, communities across Coventry.
The last three months have meant that detailed planning has needed to be paused while we deal with the pandemic. It has been a challenging time for many people in so many different ways, but as we emerge from this crisis over the next few months, it feels very exciting to have City of Culture in front of us, a chance to celebrate our city and to show the world how a city can bounce back after difficult times. I am excited to be part of this incredible opportunity and determined Coventry Police will do all we can to ensure the Coventry is safer for all our brilliant communities.
"The arts and cultural sector can play an important part in reducing crime and protecting people."