Can Dialogue Help Police Officers and Young Black Adults Understand Each Other? Key Findings From a Restorative Process in Blanchardstown, West Dublin

Thursday, October 26, 2023 - 15:00 to 16:00
Education Lecture Theatre, Education House

Relationships between the police and minority ethnic communities are often characterised by tension, mistrust and poor understanding. It seems unlikely that the solutions lie in the traditional approaches to police-community engagement. This article outlines key findings from the first study to use restorative practices to facilitate dialogue between police officers and young Black adults in Europe. This occurred in Blanchardstown, West Dublin, where the police recently shot and killed a young Black man, George Nkencho. Observational and interview data suggest that the process enabled participants to speak and listen respectfully to each other and to understand how each other’s experiences shaped their perspectives on policing. These data suggest that restorative practices are a viable method for enabling dialogue that can play an educational role and provide a space safely to discuss and reflect upon views and experiences of policing and police-community relations. While there is sufficient evidence to justify seeking to scale-up dialogic processes, it remains unclear whether and how the contribution that dialogue can make at the individual level could translate into cultural change at the institutional level, or address underlying structural inequalities."