On the the 18th of March 2019, Forward Thinking participated in the fourth meeting of Crown Prosecution Service’s Community Conversations initiative in Manchester.

Launched in July 2018, the aim of Community Conversations is to create a space in which diverse members of local British Muslim communities can access senior figures in the Crown Prosecution Service North West. The purpose is to have a frank and honest dialogue, in which community members can share their thoughts of the work of the CPS, their feelings on the criminal justice system, and their ideas of where improvements might be made.

In response to requests from the community, the CPS invited the other participating institutions of the Local Criminal Justice Board (LCJB) to this meeting, in order to have a more holistic discussion on the criminal justice system (CJS).

Discussions explored a number of issues, particularly how to improve the diversity of the workforce in the different parts of the CJS NW, understanding why BAME communities are disproportionately represented within the CJS, and how the idea of restorative justice might be developed and applied within the north west. A significant part of the meeting was taken up with issue of religiously and racially aggravated hate crime, and the growing concern of communities given the terrible attacks in Christchurch. The representatives from the CJS sought to offer assurances that they are working to improve the response to hate crime and offered advice to participants on how to record and respond to abuse they might encounter on social media.