It is a sad but undeniable fact that post Brexit levels of hate crime have risen across some parts of the UK, most notably England and Wales. Intolerance, ignorance, prejudice and inequality have emerged as communities try to make sense of the Brexit impact on society.
Analysis of this information and the conceptual intelligence held by communities in Edinburgh resulted in Police Scotland supporting the growing use of participatory Budgeting to address issues of criminality linked to an increase in frequency and severity of hate crimes, and also issues of under-reporting, post Paris terrorist attacks.
To this end, PB Partners were asked to deliver a short training programme that would enable the Edinburgh police, partners and active citizens to develop a grant funded PB process that would focus on support for the Muslim community.
The training, delivered by Susan Ritchie and Dr Andrew Fisher was well received and the Police Scotland lead, Sergeant Scott Kennedy began to facilitate the development of a community steering group to define the PB programme. Over a period of time the process was defined and bids were invited to secure a percentage of a 40,000 pot. The criteria allowed for three bids up to a maximum of 5,000 for three separate projects.
In total, 34 projects were shortlisted and invited to a PB market place to support their bid. Over a two week period over 2,500 people voted on the projects that they wished to support. Voting could be done on line or in person at 28 public libraries.
The event attracted local and national media and Sergeant Kennedy was able to enforce the theme of the event, to support diversity and community cohesion through preventing Islamaphobia and associated prejudice ‘behaviour’.
In total, 13 projects are being funded through this PB process and plans are underway to extend PB with a focus on community safety in the Edinburgh area.