A delegation of senior police figures recently took part in our Lessons from Srebrenica programme. The powerful impact of this visit inspired them to translate their experiences into positive action within the UK. Here, several delegates sum up the importance of visiting Srebrenica and the varied lessons learned.
For Asif Sadiq, President of the National Association of Muslim Police and leader of the delegation, “the Remembering Srebrenica trip…highlights the importance of addressing hate crime before it escalates and how necessary it is to adequately investigate reports of hate crime in order to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice and victims can therefore receive closure.”
Nadeem Mir, Chief Inspector of Greater Manchester Police, noted that his experience in Bosnia was “both harrowing and informative”, adding that “it is important that all forms of hate crime are dealt with expeditiously and with a full understanding of any underlying causes. Community cohesion is key to communities living in harmony with each other. Voices need to be heard, difficult and controversial conversations need to be had, and most importantly we need to listen to each other.”
Similarly, Tafheen Sharif, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire, aims to use lessons learned in Bosnia to create a cohesive society by raising awareness and tacking Hate Crime. She said: “Hatred must not be tolerated in any shape or form in any country. Racism, discrimination and the promotion of hatred, continues to persist, even in the UK. We must recognise the dangers of these and understand that failure to play our part can result in something gruesome.” Relating these lessons back to her own role in the community, Ms Sharif noted that, “as individuals we must each feel empowered to stand up and speak out against intolerance and racial abuse, wherever and whenever it occurs.”
Richard James, Superintendent of Northamptonshire Police, found the visit particularly poignant noting that, “the country is breathtakingly beautiful- at odds with my expectations. The people were without exception warm and open. Without doubt a moment on my career to pause for thought.” Like the other delegates, he was inspired to take action, pledging that, “whilst I look at how I can best tell the story to colleagues and local communities- I am also considering what practical steps we may be able to make to support the mothers of Srebrenica.”
Likewise, Head of Equality, Diversity and Human Rights at the College of Policing, Everett Henry, was strongly moved by the experience: “I learnt so much from my visit about the atrocities that took place in such a beautiful country. It has made me realise community cohesion is an important issue as the consequences of discrimination and hate is incomprehensible. I will work towards raising awareness of Srebrenica with all diversity leads in each police force throughout the UK.”