Unity Policing - Providing a virtual communication platform

Unity Policing - Providing a virtual communication platform


Would you like to take part in an innovative project, which aims to improve cooperation and communication between the Police and the communities they serve?


Unity is designed to empower communities by improving communication and cooperation through an online forum, accessed through an Internet web based platform or via an App on a smart-phone.

The Unity forum is a safe zone for you to voice your concerns or ideas and you can also contact other people through the forum who can help; this may be a police officer or a professional within the community. There is also an events page which will tell you what events are happening in your community which you might be interested in getting involved with, whilst a news page will keep you updated with any local news in your area.

Unity is not an alternative means of reporting a crime or incident to the police; it will however, help the Police and other organisations to build up a picture of what is happening in the local area and enable them to take appropriate action.   

The Unity technology has been developed in stages and by the time the project finishes, it will have been put to test in 8 different European countries. The final testing takes place in the UK in West Yorkshire, between September and November 2017, involving 3 different scenarios.  

We are looking for volunteers from the LGBTQ community and key organisations that support the community, to take part ad-hoc in one of the scenarios; also to provide feedback for evaluation purposes, on whether it would help them in their everyday lives in communicating with other members of their community and the police and whether in their view, Unity would make a positive impact on the 6 pillars of Community Policing. We would like volunteers to carry on assisting with Unity for a few months beyond November 2017, to be able to provide additional testing and evaluation opportunities.

Unfortunately, during the testing phase, volunteers have to be aged 18 years or over.

The scenario involving the LGBTQ community is based on the shooting which took place in June 2016 at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. This act of hate crime resulted in 49 people being killed and 53 wounded. As a result of this attack, members of the LGBTQ community within West Yorkshire not only felt vulnerable but targeted, afraid and hated. The month of June was the build-up to the annual Pride events in West Yorkshire. News reports of the events being to filter through to each LGBTQ community via the local news throughout the world causing the community to become concerned for their safety and fearful of a similar attack happening within their own local community. On seeing these
comments on Facebook, an LGBTQ Champion in the Leeds area contacts the police to inform the Principal Community Engagement Officer of the recent concerns voiced by community members via social media. In the first instance, messages were put out via the WYP- LGBT Twitter and Facebook pages to community members, for reassurance and to gauge any particular tensions or threats.

This, however, was simply not enough and people still felt targeted and in fear of their lives, because of their sexual orientation and or gender identity. In response to these fears and concerns, the ‘Safe In Safe Out’ Event was arranged.

The Unity technology will be introduced into the scenario, to provide a virtual communication platform, that will assist members of the LGBTQ community to communicate and discuss theirs fears and concerns. It will also facilitate the organisation and publicising of LGBTQ partnership events and community group meetings, provide updates regarding these events and be used to provide reassurance during times of concern or fear. The police and other support organisations involved with the LGBTQ community can also evaluate Unity and use it as a means of deploying resources that meet the concerns of the community.

The scenario will be tested virtually rather than physically, through the use of the Unity technology, which will enable participants to take part on an ad-hoc basis throughout the testing period and beyond.

Volunteers taking part will be given guidance as to how to use the system and prompted as to what type of task needs to be undertaken in the Unity platform, to get the best out of testing the scenario and how Unity can contribute to effective Community Policing.

Before taking part, any Volunteers would be asked to sign to give their consent to take part in the project and to the terms and conditions of using Unity. If you are interested in taking part in the project or want to learn more about what unity
can offer you, please email; unity@westyorkshire.pnn.police.uk

Or visit our social media pages at:
Twitter: @unityeuproject
Facebook: www.facebook.com/unityeuproject/
Linked in: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8603343

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