Uniform dating: New police recruits join 'speed faithing' event with religious leaders before hitting the beat

Hindu leader Hari Shukla was among the faith leaders to attend the session with new recruits to Northumbria Police.
Hindu leader Hari Shukla was among the faith leaders to attend the session with new recruits to Northumbria Police.

New bobbies joined in a 'speed faithing' session to discover more about religion ahead of their first shifts on patrol.

As Valentine's Day approaches, a class of new recruits who have signed up to Northumbria Police have been enrolled in a different type of speed dating

Church of England Reverend Nicholas Buxton joins in the event.

Church of England Reverend Nicholas Buxton joins in the event.

It hosted the meet and greet event for its latest intake, which saw the officers sit down with a host of different faith leaders.

The officers will be joining teams across Sunderland and South Tyneside, as well as communities elsewhere across the region.

The event took the same format as a speed dating night, with leaders from six faiths in the North East chatting to the class of student officers.

Northumbria's People Development Department has worked with the Council of Faiths to organise these events and arrange the attendance of the subject matter experts.

Fabriba Hedayti of the Bahai faith talks to officers at the event.

Fabriba Hedayti of the Bahai faith talks to officers at the event.

The class of 22 officers were split into smaller groups and then rotate round the room to speak to a different faith leader and get to know a bit about their faith.

Volunteers with experience and expertise from faiths including Islam, Sikhism, Church of England, Hinduism, Baha'i and Judaism then speak to the officers about how they could better engage with members of their community.

It gave the student officers the opportunity to ask questions of the faith leaders and equip themselves with knowledge that will assist them when they hit the beat.

Sergeant Steve Kirby, who helped organise the event, said: "These types of inputs are an important aspect of our student officers learning and development, sharpening their skills in delivering a policing service to faith communities.

Jewish faith leader Ben Roth chats to one of Northumbria Police's new officers.

Jewish faith leader Ben Roth chats to one of Northumbria Police's new officers.

"Understanding these different community needs will help them in their time as police officers whether that be helping them to gather vital intelligence or to deliver crime prevention advice.

"Often, we only find out about some offences through intelligence from our communities and this allows us to be in the best position to engage with people who historically don't engage with police.

"This learning experience helps to strengthen the relationship between Northumbria Police and the communities we serve, and is one of many forums that help local people to contribute their expertise to the service we provide.

"Ultimately, it is inputs like this that help us to protect the people we serve and it is something that we want to embed in our officer training moving forward."

Sikh Cloud Singh meets officers who have joined Northumbria Police.

Sikh Cloud Singh meets officers who have joined Northumbria Police.

One other 'Speed Faithing' session has been held in the past, which included representatives from faiths including Zoroastrian and the Inter-Faith and Ethnic Relations Advisor at the Diocese of Newcastle.

If anyone is interested in a career in the police and would like the opportunity to find out more, specifically how police can accommodate your religious observances in employment, then they can email ellen.glynn.6960@northumbria.pnn.police.uk or upsrecruitment@northumbria.pnn.police.uk.