Restorative Circles for Police-Community Dialogue: A Facilitation Script from the UBUNTU Project in Dublin, Ireland
28 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2022
Date Written: October 6, 2022
Few have applied restorative practices to structure police-community engagement. Fewer, still, publish their script after doing so, enabling others to build on and learn from it. This article presents and explains a script that the authors devised and used to facilitate a two-day dialogue process that involved six Gardaí (Irish police officers) and six young Black adults in Blanchardstown, Dublin, Ireland. Drawing on literature from the fields of restorative practices and dialogue, the article illustrates the four stages of the dialogue process. This started by 1) establishing relationships, common intentions and norms, before the participants shared and explored their experiences and perceptions of 2) Blanchardstown and belonging, 3) policing, and 4) the future. The article seeks to explain the context in which the dialogue process took place. It provides an annotated script to outline the questions asked and activities undertaken and explain its rationale. The dialogue was co-designed by the principal investigator (Marder) with the project’s researcher (Kurz) and with young Black adults and Gardaí trained in restorative practices, two of whom (Ibeanu and O’Neill) also co-facilitated the process with Marder.
Keywords: Policing, police-community engagement, restorative practices, restorative circles, dialogue, ethnicity, An Garda Síochána
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