Community group members were given a unique insight into the fast-paced world of policing that included a blue-light response to reports of threats being made with a baseball bat.
Four members of the Chayah Project, largely based in St Ann’s, got the chance to go out with neighbourhood officers in the area as part of the Ride Along Scheme offered by the force – and after a whirlwind shift said they ‘wished it didn’t have to end.’
The ride-along project is open to Nottinghamshire locals and gives them the chance to see how officers work to resolve incidents both in the local community and working with partner agencies. As part of the scheme, the group helped officers spot speeding vehicles as well as travel with them to live calls and breaking incidents.
The Chayah Project is a Nottingham based project, funded by donations, which aims to build stronger communities by giving support, training sessions, seminars and personal coaching to those who need it most.
Hya Francis-Watson, who founded and heads up the Chayah Project, was one of those who went along for the ride and said: “It was a fantastic experience and really allowed me to be able to see exactly what officers do from the moment they receive the call about an incident, to when they get there and look to resolve it.
“I was struck by how well officers dealt with the volume of tasks being put to them, covering quite a vast area.
“We started by being shown how to use a ‘speed gun’ to spot anyone going too fast on the roads. We then went off to a call about an elderly lady who had gone missing, patrolling the area and trying desperately to find her. It was a great relief when she was located.
“We then went on blue lights from Clifton to Mapperley after it was reported a man was making threats with a baseball bat. It was brilliant to see just how committed officers were to getting to the calls as soon as possible. It was definitely an experience being in the car on that run, travelling at high speeds and seeing how the officer driving was able to do this safely and manoeuvre through the streets.
“It really did open my eyes and will say that it was over too quickly. It’s been great to go back to the team and share our experience, and I know a number of them who didn’t come along this time are now very keen to have this experience themselves.
“We really appreciate the opportunity to come along and would encourage anyone who has the opportunity to go on a ride-along, particularly if they’re considering a career in policing.”
The team were invited along as part of the force’s ongoing community engagement work with members of the community and local schemes, such as the Chayah Project, which aim to prevent people becoming involved in crime.
Neighbourhood Policing Inspector for City South Karl Thomas said: “It’s fantastic to hear the positive feedback about the ride along experience provided by our team in the south of the city.
“It’s very important in our work to get involved and be a part of the community we serve, and any opportunity to work more closely with them and show them how we work is great for us. Being able to engage with them on a human level is essential when it comes to our ‘you said, we did’ approach.
“Building relationships like this is key as this allows us to both prevent crime through early intervention and engagement, as well as detecting crime. We want people to tell us about the issues that matter to them as this informs our policing and helps us target what we focus on.
“The success of this ride along evening is testament to the team, led by Sergeant Natham Phipps, and I want to thank them for their efforts and providing the group with this really positive experience.”
Superintendent Suk Verma, who oversees the force’s community cohesion work, said: “The ride-along scheme is designed to build confidence and dispel myths, and it’s really brilliant to see the team in the south of the city being able to use the scheme and achieve exactly what it was designed to do.
“We were unfortunately unable to offer these opportunities as we wanted to in 2020 due to Covid-19, so it’s brilliant to now be able to once again work on these schemes to engage with our communities more closely. We are committed to breaking down barriers and this is just one of the ways we look to work more closely with our communities and do just that.
“As Inspector Thomas mentioned, community and police engagement is vital for both the prevention and detection of crime, and it is opportunities like this which we hope will give people an insight into what we do as a force and how we work, and in turn allow people to build their confidence when it comes to speaking with us.
“It is a particularly good opportunity for those thinking of a career in policing and who want to learn what it’s like to be an officer responding to reports and working within the community and we look forward to having more people on board with us as we begin to offer this again.”
Anyone interested in taking part in the ride-along scheme can find out more about the opportunities available at: https://www.nottinghamshire.police.uk/advice/public-ride-along