Between 23rd-24th January 2019, Jordan Morgan, UK Programme Manager, was invited to speak at the Crown Prosecution Service’s North West Management Conference. Alongside local Muslim representatives, Jordan spoke to around 150 senior CPS managers. He discussed the aims and objectives of the ‘Community Conversations’ pilot programme, which has linked diverse local Muslim communities through community engagement, including ones with no prior experience of engagement, with North West Chief Crown Prosecutor Martin Goldman.

The objectives of community conversations are to: improve public understanding of the work of the CPS; improve understanding within the CPS of how it is perceived; identify opportunities where confidence can be built, and partnerships developed.

Forward Thinking’s role has been to support effective and inclusive dialogue with a diversity of local community figures, which has ensured a greater number of voices have been heard. So far the discussions have explored the relationships between local British Muslim communities and the CPS; the effectiveness and extent of the local authority responses to hate crime; diversity within the CPS NW; and the need for bottom up community led responses to contemporary challenges.

Community participants perceive that there is a growing incidence of attacks and harassment because of their race or religion, many fear constant threats or violence, however, this fear is acute for ‘visibly’ Muslim women and young children who feel particularly vulnerable. Positively, the North West has one of the highest conviction rates for hate crime prosecutions at 86%, however, prosecutions alone are not enough.  Therefore, priorities and practice on the best way are being developed to improve reporting and develop solutions to the complex challenges faced.