The goal of the programme is to increase the feeling of security among Haifa’s more vulnerable residents and neighbourhoods and to improve the police force’s ability to carry out its role through the process of developing cultural competency skills and building trust between the police and the communities they serve. The programme strengthens mutual understanding and respect between the police force and the community and, in doing so, confronts the main challenge facing police in multicultural and liberal societies: finding a balance that allows the police to maintain law and order, whilst simultaneously strengthening the sense of belonging and equality of different social groups. A stronger sense of respect and understanding will strengthen the protection of law and order, contribute to the personal senses of security among citizens, and help the police do their jobs more effectively.
The programme addresses these challenges in two ways: firstly, with a “top-down” approach: training police officers from Haifa police stations in cultural competency skills, thereby increasing the willingness and ability of the police to effectively participate with the minority communities they serve; secondly, with a “bottom-up” approach: engaging community members at all levels (leaders, parents, and children) in conversation with authorities and providing leadership building workshops to empower residents.
Meetings are organised between community leaders, neighbourhood police, school students and parents from the neighbourhood (Phase 1) in order to promote discussion and dialogue. Follow-up meetings are then held with community leaders and police officers to implement recommendations and evaluate changes in the number of incidents, complaints and feelings of safety of the residents.
The action is carried out in co-operation with the community department and City Secretary Office of Haifa municipality and facilitated by experts in the field of intercultural work and facilitation.