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Prayer breakfast spurs sign-up

01 November 2013

BRIAN PICKERING

Signed up: two police recruits, Ronnie Landa and Kayley Oppon-Kusi, meet the Bishop of Sherwood, the Rt Revd Anthony Porter, and the Chief Constable of Nottingham, Chris Eyre, at the one-day recruitment seminar last month

Signed up: two police recruits, Ronnie Landa and Kayley Oppon-Kusi, meet the Bishop of Sherwood, the Rt Revd Anthony Porter, and the Chief Constable...

A CONVERSATION over a prayer breakfast led to the creation of a recruitment event - thought to be unique - in which 50 members of the black and minority-ethnic communities signed up as potential police constables.

The Bishop of Sherwood, the Rt Revd Anthony Porter, hosts five prayer breakfasts a year for the leaders of black-majority churches in Nottingham. At a recent breakfast attended by the county's Chief Constable, Chris Eyre, the representation of ethnic minorities in the police was discussed, and the idea for a day-long recruitment seminar emerged.

The Chief Constable challenged the faith leaders to "help shape the future of policing in our communities by bringing to the event as many talented potential recruits as you can; people who . . . want to serve our communities through policing".

The event took place earlier this month at a Nigerian Pentecostal church in the city, God's Vineyard. The 50 people who signed up at the event will receive support and guidance from the police.

"The inspirational testaments given by minority officers, both experienced and new, about what policing meant to them were something I will never forget," Chief Constable Eyre said. "The 50 people who signed up to become police officers on Saturday show how important the event was to them. They will go through the selection process, but, with support from their churches, faith communities, and our recruitment team, a number of them will become police officers within the next few months."

Bishop Porter, a former police chaplain in Moss Side, Greater Manchester, said: "I know from personal experience how important it is that the police draw their officers from ethnic-minority communities.

"The Chief Constable . . . has formed good relationships, and it is from those ongoing relationships that we work together in seeking to recruit potential officers from ethnic-minority groups.

"As a former police chaplain myself, I have enormous respect, sympathy, and understanding of what it means to be a police officer on the front line . . . and an understanding that, as a Church, we need to work together with the community to make cities safer and kinder places."

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